The Prodigy Chronicles: Real-Life Inspiration

January 29, 2016

It’s funny how real-life things work their way into a story. No matter how wild or bizarre a path my imagination leads me down, something personal always pops up along the way. It could be a thought that inspires me or makes me smile. Or, it could be something that ends up as part of the journey.

 

If you’ve read Gambit, then you’ve unknowingly been exposed to quite a few of my personal thoughts and experiences. Here are a few favorites:

 

 

The Rosebud Cup

 

When Willow sits down to her first breakfast in the Core, Essly pours “rich, aromatic coffee into Morry’s china cup, a lovely thing with a golden rim and a dainty pink rosebud design.” It’s not by accident that Morry uses china with a rosebud pattern. I modeled it after the set of china my grandmother passed down to me many years ago.

 

 

 

 

Isn't that lovely? There are a few differences between my grandmother's china and the set Morry uses, but the concept is similar. What I love about mine is that the roses are done in black and white, and yet one petal has a golden blush while the center bud and surrounding petals have a baby pink blush. It's hard to see in the picture above, so let me zoom in a little bit.

 

 

 

 

See the colors? Every piece of china has that twin set of blushes in the bloom. Some pieces have buds as well as blooms, and those buds have a dainty pink blush in the center; hence, Morry's dainty pink rosebud design.

 

 

A Song in my Hart

 

So this is a classic example of art imitating life. I was sitting at my local coffee shop one breezy summer morning, talking with a couple of friends, when one of them suddenly burst out singing. We'd been talking about The Teddy Bears' Picnic song, and I'd never heard it, so he decided to sing it for me. Right in front of everyone! He was generally a quiet, soft-spoken man, so it caught me off guard when he belted out the lyrics in his rough, gravelly voice. I started laughing and literally couldn't stop...a moment I'll never forget.

 

A few weeks later, Hart did the same thing for Willow in the desert scrub. It made my heart smile to give them that real-life moment, and it paved the way for the gift he leaves her in the Core. A little sappy, yeah, but I'm glad I did it.

 

 

Unnatural Disaster

 

A fierce, man-made storm boundary separates the Core from the rest of the country. When Willow first lays eyes on it, she's overwhelmed. She's seen many kinds of storms, including "one dark, swirling funnel" that took out the southern edge of McKaireth. That, of course, was a tornado.

 

I've seen one tornado in real life. It threatened my hometown when I was a kid. The wind blew so hard I had trouble standing up, and the sky turned a sickly shade of green. I remember putting all my valuable things in a pillowcase when my dad said we needed to get into the cellar (which was outside the house). On our way, he stopped and pointed. There, moving along the horizon several miles away, was the tornado. It was too far off to be a danger to us, but I remember exactly how it looked. I remember the dust and debris billowing up as it tore a path through the ground. I remember being both fascinated and horribly afraid.

 

To this day, I still dream about dark, swirling funnels dropping out of the sky. I'm not sure why, since it happened so long ago. But it left a deep impression on me and is one reason I gave Willow a similar experience to recall at the boundary.

 

 

The Reece Scentsation

 

Describing Reece's signature scent was incredibly personal. I love essential oils and use them all the time...on my skin, in my hair, when I bathe. My absolute favorite combination is Lime and Cedar. They're spectacular enough on their own, but mixed together, their spicy/citrusy scent takes me straight to sensory heaven. It's a heady, masculine combination I've been drawn to for years.

 

Soooo, if you want a little taste of what it's like to be near Commander Reece, draw yourself a steaming hot bath, sprinkle in several drops of these...

 

 

 

 

...and let your imagination do the rest.

 

 

A Dream Come True

 

The dream Willow has while asleep in the desert is a gift from Joshua. Because he exists outside of time and space, he can speak to her on a subconscious level. He can show her the future. She wakes up knowing that their little band of travelers is in danger.

 

I've never dreamt of something that came true right afterward. But...I've had dreams that later came true. I once dreamt of being selected to care for someone with special needs (seven years later, that dream became reality). A few months before my mom passed away, I dreamt of her sudden death (and she did die suddenly, without warning). I suppose those would seem like flukes, if special needs and death were common symbols in my dreams, but they were one-time events I could never explain. I've had strange premonitions as well: a gut feeling that someone was in a car crash (and she was), a friend's name spoken into my ear as I woke up (later he told me he was suffering extreme trauma that day), weird things like that.

 

Do I have a Joshua looking over my shoulder every now and then? Lol, I don't know, but that's what I gave Willow to help guide her down the path from caterpillar to butterfly. If all goes well in the sequel, she'll find out just how powerful Joshua and his kind really are.

 

So whether you're relaxing, or running off to take a lime-and-cedar bath, or prepping for some storm watching, I hope you have a great weekend.

 

Take care! :)

 

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C.L. Denault is the author of Gambit, a thrilling YA dystopian novel released March 2015 by REUTS Publications.

 

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