After I create my stories, I begin the mammoth task of researching; making sure that all the content in my story is correct and gaining material to expand on topics where I lacked the knowledge. I find research to be vital, adding authenticity and correctness to a story.
My Thoughtmover series needed an incredible amount of research that I had done on everything from types of landscapes, modes of transportation, suitable weapons, appropriate fashion, and the list goes on. I even researched the names of characters, places, and things in the story, to pick names that were fitting to their role.
For me, research is more than getting information from a book or retrieving it from the Internet–that I learned the hard way is not always correct–but to obtain the information from people who hold personal knowledge and experiences in that area, people who have ‘been there and done that’. Even in fantasy, content must be depicted as real and accurate as possible.
For The Alkahest, an area that required research was tall ships. Lacking personal nautical experience, I met up with a sailor, who was kind enough to share his experiences with me on tall ships, information that is not easily obtainable elsewhere. This type of personal information includes unique feelings and thoughts that arise on board and how the senses are touched by actions or events that occur on these ships.
I use this personal information to create conditions on a ship that allow the reader to feel as if they are riding aboard that ship, experiencing the life and challenges of the characters. I think a writer’s greatest accomplishment is when he or she can take their readers and put them into the world of the story, to travel with the characters on their journey.
Researching for my books is one of my favorite tasks in writing next to the creation of my stories. It has not only given me knowledge in areas where it lacked, but it has allowed me to meet wonderful and skilled people that have made my life richer and my stories better.
One of the questions I’m asked often is how I created my Thoughtmovers in the Alkahest.
The answer is, the way that I create all my stories – through my imagination. When people, places, or things grab my attention, I begin to build a world around them and when that world is fully developed, it becomes a story. See my interview, Path to Writing
The Alkahest - New Novel by Alandra CL
The idea for my Thoughtmovers was inspired in an elevator. I was riding to the top of a skyscraper when the elevator stopped to let in more passengers, and in stepped three, tall, and very charismatic men. Standing close to seven feet, with gorgeous bodies, and handsome faces, I thought to myself that it wasn’t fair that these men were so perfect. At that precise moment, they all three turned around and smiled at me. It was as if they had read my thoughts and were thanking me for the compliment, hence came the idea of a tall and telepathic race known as the Thoughtmovers.
From there, I expanded on the idea and created the World of Kaldanien, where these powerful Movers rule the people. I went on and created a culture for them by providing them a different belief system, placing them in a higher caste, and even changing them physically by making them far taller than their human brethren.
Map of Kaldanien from the fantasy novel, The Alkahest
Once the storyline and the setting were established, I began my character developments. I choose a heroine and created a life around her, a life touched with misery but also filled with dreams, love, and a strong purpose. I chose a hero whose ambition was to free the people from servitude and to try to find a loving mate, to share his life with and help him in his goal.
My hero and heroine were then plunged into danger, despair, and all sorts of dire circumstances where they would be forced to make life-altering decisions amidst trying to find each other. The story begins there with book one, The Alkahest, and the rest is history.
Every day, I’m exposed to people, places, and things that make an impression on me, setting me off to build more stories around them. Some make a stronger impression on me than others do and those are the ones dearest to my heart. The Thoughtmover series is one of those special stories.