Developing Azure Maris - Where the idea came from

One of my earliest posts discussed where to gather ideas here, but I haven't discussed where I came up with Azure's concept. In fact, yesterday, that was question that Deb had in the comments.

I gave a short answer, but I'll expand it today as well as focus on some of the characters throughout the week.

Sometimes ideas come from photographs - the one above crosses the Shannon River in Athlone, Ireland. Sometimes ideas come from other books or conversations or personal experience.

Azure Maris came from a little bit of everything. First, I had been diving into the concept of royal priesthood (2 Peter 2:9-10). What does it mean to be royalty and a priest? The royal priesthood did not exist in ancient Israel since the priesthood was the line of one family while the royalty was another family. In ancient Egypt, there was a royal priesthood to some extent, but not like Azure's world. In Egypt, the pharaoh would have offered sacrifices in part of his royal duties, while later in Egyptian history, the children became a part of the priesthood of the royal gods. The priesthood interceded for their people as well as led worship during the holy days; royalty led and protected the kingdom. Much of what Azure, Brun and Yo'ash  (her brothers who show up in book 2) do is related to their position in the royal priesthood. The best example of Azure's intercession is in the first book when she faces down the sumu ba-ashma in the church. Throughout the book, you rarely see Azure's position royalty. The idea of a royal priesthood continue to develop especially as Azure's story develops.

The second layer (indeed where Azure received her tail) came from an online conversation about writing for ABA (American Booksellers Association) and CBA (Christian Booksellers Association). Each group has a standard that they follow, and each group has favorite genres that they prefer to sell and therefore, publishers listen to those wants. Writing for one group might be a natural fit as opposed to the other group. Writing for both might be easy as well, but when a book does not fit one group or the other, there can be frustration. I read that article while I wrote my book, Bloodroot, which I'm currently editing for submission. The series that Bloodroot begins does not, and probably will not fit easily within the Christian community; it is however, a novel that I want to see published. In the process of making the series more conducive to what I thought was the target audience, I struggled because there were parts that I felt needed to remain ... then I read one of the comments left on the blog article. He decided that those who wrote for both (ABA and CBA) weren't freaks, but were mermaids living in both worlds, but not necessarily a part of either world.

Now, Azure had her tail and her position, I needed a struggle so I tossed her onto land, grounded her, leaving her all alone in Maryland with nary a person who loved her ... or so she thought. The concept of deep waters versus shallow waters became more apparent as the idea developed. In addition, I walked the path that I sent Eliam and Mitch on - that desire to dive deep into the Christian faith, but not understanding how - how does one dive down and swim with the sharks? Azure is wise enough to realize that within the Christian faith certain cultural items are part of worship, but not necessarily wrong. Church buildings are a portion of European worship opposed to Azure's temple in Deep Waters. Both work, and one isn't better than the other. Truthfully, this whole aspect of worship - what constitutes worship and what needs to be involved and what is superfluous?

So, Azure has her tail, her position, her internal struggle (deep waters and shallow waters)and her task (return home). Tomorrow, I'll show how I developed her supporters (Mitch and Eliam) and her opposition (Mano Leo-mana).

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