I live near one of the natural wonders of the world – Mammoth Cave. It’s the world’s longest known cave system, and I’ve been going there on school field trips and family trips since I was a kid.
Several years ago, when I was still just thinking about writing these books, a visit here clicked over into inspiration. The tour guide cautioned us to wipe our feet carefully on the provided bio mats at the entrance and exit of the cave, stating that if certain bio-matter were to enter the cave, it would have to be shut down.
For some reason, my brain heard this as – “conspiracy theory for secret hideout when the world ends.” Don’t ask – it’s a writer thing!
So I had my location. From there, the society grew – what would happen to people who were desperate to survive a disaster? Who would the leaders choose to be saved? How would they survive in that cave all those years?
The characters Charles and Lakessa were my answer – they founded the city. They built and created it even before the disaster known as the Great Sickness happened, and when the disease struck, Asphodel was ready for its carefully-chosen citizens.
This pair became the city’s first leaders, and they created everything – religion, government, and lifestyle. Of course, when you have a closed environment and a small number of people in charge, you usually end up with a dystopia!
The people of Asphodel worship the zodiac, and the idea of the Fates – the three women in Greek mythology who determine the length of your life, its path, and its end! This matches well with a dystopia and dictator-style leadership – if your Fate is pre-determined, what reason would you have to rebel?
The above collage is my idea of what the inside of Apshodel might look like – the book describes it as still having the smooth floors and rock walls a cave should have, but there are modern conveniences such as lighted walkways and enclosed apartment-style living spaces, as well as separate spaces or rooms for school, training, work, and gatherings. Mammoth Cave has many of these large rooms, separated by wandering passageways where someone could easily hide…or get lost.
There story also adds a “hot pool” where the young people hang out when they want to get away from the adults – the underground river that helps the city survive is ice-cold. But the hot pool shares a wall with the incineration room, so the temperature is bearable for swimming.
And of course, those three women are a creepy rendition of the Fates.
I’d love to hear your questions or comments, and I hope you all get a chance to read Justice Buried – it will be for sale in just a few days, and if all goes as planned, the ebook will be free on all retail sites very soon!
Until then – keep your sights in the stars!
(There’s a story behind that, too, but you have to finish the series!)
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