The anthology “stitch” releases Apr 21, 2014. It contains four novellas by m/m romance authors including Kim Fielding, Sue Brown, Jamie Fessenden, and myself. You can read about all the stories and an excerpt of “Reparation” here.
This post is a ‘desktop’ post in which I share my inspiration and visual images I used while writing the story.
Inspiration for Setting & Mood: Wuthuring Heights
Even though “Reparation” is a sci-fi dystopian novella, set on a different planet, it was inspired by Wuthuring Heights. I’ve always loved the setting of Wuthuring Heights–the sense of desolation and isolation of the moors, the wild weather, and the primal feel that gives to young Heathcliff and Kathy. Wuthuring Heights inspired my barren planet of Kalan and the sort of eighteenth-century English feel to the characters. Below are some of the Wuthuring Heights-ish images I used for tone.
Edward was born the second son in a family of spore farmers on the planet of Kalan. It’s a very privileged position because the Federation values the spores highly and they only grow on one planet. Edward both loves and hates the barren Kalan, a place where almost nothing grows except for the spores. He was never meant to take over the family farm. He’s not hard and ruthless like the other Kalanese farmers. But he’s forced to take over when his father and brother are both killed. Struggling against the harsh conditions, and his own too-sympathetic nature, Edward is in desperate need of an ally.
“Reparation” has a somewhat Edwardian feeling and I used Jeremy Irvine from BBC’s “Great Expectations” for inspiration for Edward.
Knox is a huge humanoid, a “recon” or reconstitute. Recons are labor slaves on Kalan, and they’re part robot and part the remains of executed Federation prisoners. Knox exists in a sort of mindless haze of drudgery until one day he saves Edward’s life and is pulled into the curious young man’s orbit. Edward needs help to survive the harsh winter and Knox can provide it, but being around someone who treats him like a human being again, who gives him books, and expects him to carry responsibilities, causes Knox to remember things from his brain’s past life that threaten his current stability. And it doesn’t help that Edward is genuinely kind, very attractive, and seems to want Knox.
I love Frankenstein characters and I had fun with Knox. His body is simply huge, muscled and masculine while his mind is a far more delicate thing. I based his general looks (dark hair, face etc) on Tom Hardy in Wuthuring Heights.
For his body, I used a number of sports images for inspiration including Jeremy Shockey and Clay Matthews:
It’s a bit of a spoiler to say who Trevellyn is, but he is important in the story. I based him on Ralph Fiennes in Strange Days.
The spores, which are farmed on Kalan to make life-saving pharmaceuticals, are an important character in the story. The families that hold the huge farms and harvest the spores are exempt from the Federation military service, are wealthy, and have other privileges. It’s a very harsh life though, and if a farmer slips up and loses too many of the precious spores, his land can be taken from him.
The spores in “Reparation” are from a type of lichen that grows on the rocky purple surface of Kalan. Below are some research images.
If you’re curious about “Reparation” you can read an excerpt here.