Andrew Weston is an amazing author. He's stopping by today to share his creative process. I've read a few of his books and they keep me on the edge of my seat! I hope you will show him some love and be sure to enter his giveaway!
A Peek Inside My Creative Process for The Cambion Journals – Part 1.
In celebration of the release of the second book of the Cambion Journals – Kiss of the Succubus – and in collaboration with “Buy the Book Tours”, I thought I’d share a bit about the creative process behind this story's development, and what went into Augustus Thorne’s character, because as you’ll see, the journey is rather interesting.
Several years ago, I was asked to submit a pitch regarding any ideas I had for a future project. At the time, I was halfway through the first Guardian trilogy. But you know what it’s like when you’re writing. Good ideas or concepts are like a bus. You wait ages for one to turn up, and then three come rolling in at once. That was the case with the Cambion Journals. I was up to my neck in theme and plot, and I kept getting distracted by a host of great ideas about other stories and future projects.
I don’t know about you, but I get my ideas from all sorts of places. I’ve come up with concepts from sources as diverse as, real life experience, from flicking TV channels, and from dreams.
The Cambion Journals developed after a particularly vivid dream...as follows.
During the previous week, I’d been babysitting for friends and ended up watching the various cartoons and fun films kiddies like to watch, over and over again. A few in particular obviously stuck in my mind. Beauty and the Beast, and Star Wars – Return of the Sith. I say that, because I had several dreams in the week that followed.
Now, I dream a lot. What’s a bit weird about me is that I remember my experiences, and, often become aware of the fact I’m dreaming before I wake up. Many times, I relive the same scene. In these particular dreams, I played the role of a nasty piece of work. A real bad guy. The dream would always start in an old mansion where people were trapped. They were being threatened by something that defied explanation. Panic ensued, and, as everyone tried to escape, they were being cut down by something that would attack from the shadows.
Somehow, I always began the experience by watching the scene from somewhere up on the ceiling among the chandeliers. I’d feel both enraged and aroused by the scene below me, as it made my senses sing with invigorating power. Nevertheless, I felt it important to stop the carnage. So, I’d simply drop sixty or seventy feet to the floor.
However, as people realized I was there, they’d scream in terror. Their terror fed me, and I had to really struggle not to attack them myself. I’d turn and catch my image in a mirror. Surprised, I’d realize I had a demonic caste to my image, and that others like me were responsible for the ensuing mayhem. My dream would puzzle me. So why do I feel so enraged?
I’d turn again, and always find an ethereal woman walking toward me through the chaos. Displaying no fear, she’d walk right up to me, lovingly touch my cheek, and whisper, “Protect them.”
You know the way it is in dreams. Somehow, you recognize total strangers. In this scenario, I just knew the woman was my long-dead mother. She’d died hundreds of years ago, and had absolute confidence that I would do the right thing.
So I would. Using all the supernatural powers at my disposal, I’d rip the demons to shreds, feed on their terror and free the hostages from certain death. The trouble was, everyone was still terrified of me, and would fall over themselves in their haste to get away.
Often, a woman would fall trying to escape. It was always the same woman. I’d help her to her feet, and just stand there staring at her. She was beautiful. I wanted to be with her. I wanted her to know me, see me as a real person and realize she had nothing to fear. But I could feel the hunger rising inside of me because of her panic. In the end, I’d always have to back away and run deep into the bowels of mansion for fear of harming her.
And THAT was how I came up with the basis of Augustus Thorne’s character.
He’s a bad guy. But a bad guy with a conscience. So I built on that...
His mother was attacked by an Incubus, and Augustus is the result. As a Cambion – a human/demon hybrid – he has all their supernatural abilities and longevity, but he hates them. Why? His human mother didn’t abandon him as a child – as usually happens – and her input during his early years helped him develop a conscience and a strong sense of justice. He saw the way his existence ruined her life, and he resolved never to wreak such suffering on others.
That’s harder than you can imagine. Because along with his unnatural good looks, sexual magnetism, and unearthly attributes, he has also inherited an evil curse. The hunger! He must feed from human emotions or die. It is a process that prevents him from being the one thing he craves to be. Normal.
Because of it, he can never fall in love. Never settle down. Never have a family of his own to love and cherish. And he hates Demondim for that, because his mother helped him realize how precious such things are, and how a person’s life would be empty without them.
Seeing how his mother’s life was destroyed, he vows to hunt down and exterminate the one being responsible for her suffering. His own father – Fanon. It is a quest that takes Augustus down through the centuries and around the world, for his father is ancient and cunning...and very powerful.
In the process, Augustus develops the skills necessary to ravage his kind, for Cambions are stronger and more aggressive, possessing abilities Augustus has not yet fully come to realize. And as the net closes on his father, Augustus becomes aware of as yet, hidden prophecies that may have a bearing on his future, and the future of humankind.
How does his journey turn out? Does he get to wreak his revenge? Will he ever find true love?
For that, you’ll have to read the books.
However, later in the week, my “Buy the Book Tour” will reveal another stage of the process I used to make Augustus more appealing. I’m glad to say, I found a great way to make his journey more accessible and much more personal, so that you can almost place yourself in his shoes.
How did I do that?
Aha! Catch you later in the week...
Until then, watch out for the shadows.
Having survived the double-cross planned by Samael, the demon king, and Fanon, his own spawn-father, Augustus Thorne is trying to come to terms with his lot in life. Both Fanon and Agamemnon, the king’s assassin, lay dead. And good riddance! But the only woman Augustus has ever loved in his long and lonely life is gone–driven away by the very real dangers his lifestyle brings. However, Augustus doesn’t have the luxury of dwelling on what might have been. An insidious new threat has emerged, one that exposes humanity to a danger, the likes of which they have never faced before. Surprisingly, Augustus discovers he doesn’t have to face this threat alone. Quite by chance, he stumbles upon a mysterious woman. Someone who appears to be the only other Cambion he has ever met. Has he found a true soul mate at last? Or is she too good to be true? Are other players involved who would still like to see Augustus Thorne dead? If so, what’s the connection? Find out for yourselves as the story continues in: The Cambion Journals – Kiss of the Succubus.
A background thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum, pervaded the tranquil serenity of her thoughts. A muffled throb that somehow coaxed her along the current of sublime melodic reverie that was her entire world. Everything was as it should be. She was safely cocooned within a web-like tracery of scarlet and rose warmth, and her senses were soothed by the rhythm to the point of rapture. She had changed. Of that there was no doubt. The disconcerting other within her heart was making its presence felt. And yet, the metamorphosis it had generated caused no discomfort. No anxiety intruded upon her perfect existence. Thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum. Something encroached at the very limit of discernment—static noise, a sharpening of mental focus. Awareness impinged, and her head swarmed to the echo of a thousand whispers on the edge of perception as she blinked her eyes open. At first, her sight refused to cooperate, and it took a moment before the liquid silver of her vision cleared. Lucidity, the likes of which she had never before witnessed in thousands of years of existence, struck her with a hammer blow. A darkened chamber illuminated only by a handful of Bale-Lights greeted her. Plain walls welcomed her return to coherent thought, their clinical frigidity a stark contrast to the bank of high-tech medical equipment surrounding the single bed upon which she lay. That unfamiliar sound intruded again. Thum-thum, thum-thum, thum-thum. What the . . . ? “Are you all right?” a disembodied voice asked. “I . . . I think so. . . .” Her thoughts turned inward, scrutinizing the presence within her. “Are you in pain?” “No, not at all. It was just . . . different than what I expected . . . than what I’m used to.” Turning, she recognized the source of the questioner. “Lamia?” “Welcome back, Mahlat-essa. How have the last three and a half months been?” Mahlat-essa felt her breast and the newfangled steady rhythm that beat incessantly within her. “I feel . . . different.” “That’s the effect of the Bloodstone. Is it freaking you out?” Lamia placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “No, it’s just . . . not what I’m used to.” She sensed that inward scrutiny again, and wondered what to call it. “What’s happened to me?” “Your memories haven’t returned yet?” Lamia appeared concerned, her brow furrowing. “Well, I recognized you, didn’t I?” “I suppose we have to expect this. The Bloodstone is bound to mix things up for a little while yet.” “So what’s it done?” “It’s changed you at the molecular level, Mal. Altered what you are—” “What I am?” “We talked about this. Don’t you remember?” A soupy mishmash of jumbled thoughts tumbled through Mahlat-essa’s mind. Slowly, they began to coalesce into a structured, recognizable form. Comprehension dawned. “So the bloodline was puissant enough then?” Lamia’s relief was obvious. “Yes, it certainly was. Only two lines still exist today, as you know. We were able to extract sufficient vitality from our subject to imbue the stone with enough potency to trigger the transmutation.” “And there’ll be no lasting side effects?” She touched her chest again, with its disconcertingly loud beat. “Not so far as we can determine. The stone contains sufficient potency to hold the change in stasis for about six months. It’s gradually leaking that essence into your heart at a steady rate. Once it’s depleted, you’ll either revert back to normal or have to undergo a fresh infusion.” “Lamia, do we have a mirror here?” Mahlat-essa sat up, the speed of her sudden movement causing both shock and delight to course through her veins like an electric charge. Smiling, Lamia fished one out of her handbag and handed it to her friend. Mahlat-essa was slow to raise the vanity mirror to her face, and was stunned by the reflection staring back. Gone was her devilishly beautiful and angular looks which had taken the breath away from the most resolute demons. She had been replaced by a vision of even greater exquisiteness. How? “I look . . . I look . . .” She gasped. “Perfect, eh? Just right for your goal.” “My goal?” Mahlat-essa mumbled, momentarily confounded. “Remember.” Lamia hugged her close, gushing, “You can’t recall much about your past, my dear. Your poor mother died when you were born, and you were left all alone in the world, wondering who and what you are. You grew up with the awful burden of knowing you were rejected by others for being different. For having a hunger you could barely control. The only relief you’ve ever felt is when these supernatural things are present. These demons! Venting your fury on them provides the only opportunity you have of appeasing the hunger inside. And you’re very, very good at dealing with demons. It’s something that comes naturally to a freak like you, yes?” Memories began to unravel within Mahlat-essa’s mind. “Yes, I’m starting to remember now! I’m different than other girls. Stronger than other humans, faster in some ways, nastier. Although I want to protect them, they shun me. I’m all alone without anyone to share my sad and solitary existence with.” “Which is a shame of course, because our one woman execution squad just so happens to be incredibly highly sexed and armed with killer looks too. The perfect bait, eh?” Raising the mirror again, Mahlat-essa grinned. That smile failed to reach the cold depths of her eyes. Yes. The perfect bait. He won’t know what hit him!
Andrew P Weston is a military and police veteran from the UK who now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.
A criminal law and astronomy graduate, he is a contracted writer of both fiction and poetry for several publishing houses and a growing number of well established magazines. In his spare time, Andrew assists NASA with one of their research projects, and amazingly, still finds the time to submit regular educational articles for Amazing Stories and Astronaut.com.
When not writing, Andrew enjoys holding his breath, being told what to do by his wife, and drinking Earl Grey Tea whilst dressed as Captain Jean Luc Picard.
Make it so…
Also includes signed copy of Kiss of the Succubus, as well as book 1 – Rage of Augustus
Musings from Michigan