When I'd first started writing John Awakening the initial inspiration had arrived from a dream. When I was younger I spent over two years living in Peru. I lived in Lima, Ica and even Ayacucho. I spent a lot of time just walking around. During this time I would spend literal hours just pondering over the dreams I'd had in my head. Yes it could be that boring. Or is boring a placeholder for relaxing? I find those two to be closely connected. The situations in John Awakening then began fleshing out creating a living vivid world. I can't deny that the locations I lived in had some degree of effect on the book itself. Places like Ayacucho inspired an ancient-meets-modern feel to it. A place where technology existed as more like background music than the main ensemble. It was there that my story took on even more form.
Ayacucho impacted me enough that it made its way into another one of my stories called Percy. The aged, cobblestone, streets made me feel like I was walking back in the time of the conquistadors. The amount of history in Ayacucho can be seen on almost every corner. It's a city that's seen some good and bad times. But one thing remains constant throughout it all, its culture. I loved feeling so disconnected while still having he luxury of stopping by an internet cafe to quickly send out some emails and pictures. On a choice trip out to some incredible ruins in the middle of literal nowhere, I really started forming certain parts of what John Awakening would have. I wanted to capture the same feelings of adventure, history, and exploration. I wanted it to have certain familiar tones while growing the cadence. This led me to one of my favorite areas I absolutely love going to, the jungle.
I love the jungle. Plain and simple. It's one of my favorite places to turn a rock, scream for help, and see things I never thought were real. My thoughts turned towards many of the adventure style movies from my youth here, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Jurassic Park, Congo and many others. Stories aside, the locales inspired me. I love the organized chaos that they provide. A thick, towering canopy hung over an incredible foray of foliage and animal life. The possibilities there are endless. As are the potential diseases and rashes. I mean just look at this photo. The mesh of greens and color mixed with the trickling light and angles. Gasp and awe is what I felt the first time I saw it. That's the feeling I wanted to capture in John Awakening. I wanted a place that would drop some jaws. I wanted it to have certain aspects of familiarity while being completely alien at the same time. I began forming this world clear back in 2005. I don't believe I finalized it until 2009. So it took about a four years for me to lay out John Awakening's backdrop and the rest of the series. 2009 was also when I began my instruction in the dark arts of Electrical Engineering. There's no going back from that point on. Resistance is futile. Question everything.
I've already mentioned some of them already to this point. I love pretty much all the movies that George Lucas or Steven Spielbergput out with maybe a few exceptions. I can't quite graspAmerican Graffitilike I know I'm supposed to. Sorry George, you've got me on that one. But we've all got to pay our dues don't we? The Indiana Jones universe was one my imagination latched onto almost immediately. I remember watching the movie as a child being blown away by the exotic locations and action. I'll never forget the epic heart removal scene from the Temple of Doom.I'll admit, Eastern style heart surgery looks pretty efficient. Minus the imminent death and lava. The entire Indiana Jones series served my creative imagination well. Well, except forIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.I'm stuck in a weird place on that one. Was it a hoax? A little hoopla-gimmick to play on our nostalgic heart-strings? Or was it a fiery, miserable, death of a franchise? I'll let you decide.
Then there's the Star Wars franchise. The entire universe from the originals (4,5 and 6) up until the modern movies was marvelous. This despite the atrocity that was the smooth-talking-Jamaican, Jar Jar Binks. Or the cyberpunk-robot-infested world of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. I'm going to slur over the latest installments because I could ramble off on those for a while. I'll just skirt around that fire for the time being. This franchise defines so much of what I love about the idea of infinite exploration and space. It opens up an endless realm of possibilities. I see so much color and variances in characters and worlds that it was a literal joyride. I loved the classic examples of good versus evil with a twist. All of the iconic scenes, characters and dialogue have stuck with me even to this day. I used a lot of the same ideas Star Wars deployed in its franchise in the John Series. I wanted an arc of a story that could span the galaxy. I wanted the galaxy to share a common problem while at the same time having its own sub levels of worlds, characters, groups and plots. These underlying concepts help shape the universe and the characters therein. Their struggle becomes more real as the world around them continues to take shape. This also allows me to have a mental escape like none other. I dream of being able to take off into a Star Wars like universe where just about anything is possible. But so far I'll settle for Elon Musk and the the Mars mission his team are going for. They'll plow through the realm of possibility and settle an alien American Southwest. Maybe this will inspire another An American Taletake on the Mars mission, cats and mice to boot. I'd literally watch that movie tomorrow. Wallowing in a couch of nostalgia.
Here's an echo, I love Crichton's Jurassic series. Need I say more than I already have? I'll try something fresh then. When I talk about books that inspired this series its hard to really pin just one down. In truth, there were many. The John universe encompasses a lot of different places and events. This gave me a lot of wiggle room in what I'd use and how I'd use it. But if I had to target down a couple books outside of the Crichton-dinosaur world I'd look to J. R. R. Tolkien'sThe Lord of the Ringsor even The Hobbit. Now I know what you're thinking. How do hobbits, elves and whatever Gimli was, tie into a futuristic space novel? Well you've made it this far so let's just tough this one out. Bear with me, this is a stretch. It's because of the ecosystem. What I really enjoyed about the series was the feel that you never knew what was around the corner. You'd sneak into a cave and find ancient relics in a troll hoard. Spoiler Alert: How did that sword get there in the first place? The troll version of Hoarders that actually worked out for somebody. Go ahead and lose a couple hours of your life to that show. I know I did and I'm a much better person for doing it. The idea of a surprise sitting just around the corner is part of what drove John Awakening's style. I wanted it to feel open to anything. That you wouldn't know what was coming next. I also wanted you to find things. So when John experiences new places, I loved adding in some history or relevancy there were I could. There's a scene I depict in the book that is a tangent from the story line almost completely, yet I felt it added even more mystery and context to the world. You'll know what I'm talking about once you've read the book. It reminds you to always watch your step.
I've got so much to tell in this series. I've got ideas of how to expand on it and things I'd love to see. But first you've got to get into it. Take the dive into John just like I did. With an open mind ready for adventure. I hope that all the countless hours I spent in the creation of this series will entertain you much in the same way that it entertained me while I was writing it. I love this series. I really do. From its beginnings as one of my roughest pieces of work, to multiple edits later to what it is today. I'm beyond excited to have people start reading this series. And I'm even more excited to finally put John's universe out at your finger tips.