Middle Child Press: The Creative Network

1.13.2013

The Creative Network

It’s funny how ideas connect between people.  It’s fascinating how one person’s creative muse can channel and inspire the muse of another.  It’s actually wonderful when it happens, because I don’t believe it is something that happens regularly, at least in my experience.

As you may or may not know, my partner in crime and fellow lunatic Ankhesen Mié began work on a series heavily inspired and influenced by Grey’s Anatomy and Star Trek called “Gaya’s Astronomy.”  Whether you’re a fan of these shows or not doesn’t matter, as the series stands alone and doesn’t require familiarity of either canon.  Gaya’s Astronomy follows the adventures and exploits of a group of Ensigns shortly after graduating from Starfleet Academy.  I highly recommend it; it’s well-written, laugh-out-loud funny and the characters are fascinating and memorable…and *lowers head and whispers* just recently, she introduced a character inspired by my second baby’s daddy, Rick Yune, but that’s neither here nor there.  *back in regular voice*  Ankh treats GA like an actual TV show; it has an opening montage and soundtrack, and the volumes are set up as seasons, and each episode is a chapter.  We’re nearly at the end of Season 4 and just when you think Ankh can’t go any further, she does and tops herself.  Hence the beauty of the muse.
*waves flag* RISI forever!
 
Anyway, when Ankh first mentioned the idea of GA, she was a bit hesitant because it had the potential to become a massive un-finishable project.  However, Denny Upkins and I encouraged her to go forth with the idea because it was too good not to at least make the attempt.  I told Ankh to plant the GA seed because I knew it would bear fruit.  And boy, did it!  Not just for her particular garden, but also my own. 
 
Gaya’s Astronomy spawned a spinoff series, “Orias,” which is about a group of operatives working within the GA universe (you do need to be familiar with GA to follow Orias).  It also set things up so that Ankh could write an original series for publication.  The series, called Selo & Inya, is about two women traveling together and is written in the spirit of Xena: Warrior Princess.  You can learn more about Selo and Inya, as Ankh has set up a blog designed to supplement the series with backstory, maps, artwork and additional canon.  The first book, Lady of the Court, will be published by MCP in the very near future. Phenomenal artist Julie Nguyen will bring Selo & Inya’s universe to life.
Gaya’s Astronomy also sparked my muse.  While reading episodes from Season 2 and watching Fall of the House of Usher, I got the idea to pay homage to my horror and gothic roots by writing a series of pastiches updated for MCP’s core audience using the lens that only I possess.  My shortie “Connoisseurs of Memory” is a fledgling effort in that direction.   This series won’t be ready until sometime in 2014; there are other babies I must give birth to first.
 
GA also helped to renew my spirit for Nightingales, which had to be sidelined so that Tainted could be published.  While Jo, Neveyah, Cress, Lee-Lee and Monica never left my thoughts, the central conflict on which their story is supposed to turn eluded me.  Now that I have a firm grasp on what that conflict is, the story can finally be drafted and eventually published later this year.

And Sheila & K’avr…what can I say?  The Velimir Saga, epic in its scope similar to Selo & Inya, will also be illustrated by Julie Nguyen, who officially wears the Amaya Radjani Black Cape of Awesome (I don’t have an ARBCA).  Julie has already submitted drawings of Sheila & K’avir and I nearly pissed my pants in happiness, seeing my original characters on paper for the first time.  Between Ankh and I, we will keep Julie busy for a loooong time.  
 
Julie told me that our individual worlds helped inspire her muse and she’s been drawing like a fiend for Ankh and for me.  She also said that the work on Ankh’s series helps to refine what she wants to do for mine.  She did the cover of Selo & Inya: Lady of the Court and all I can say is that I want to frame and hang that baby on my wall.
 
I’ve said many times that dialogue and collaboration are a creative person’s best friends and had Ankh not decided to write Gaya’s Astronomy, who knows where we’d be in terms of our own individual creative output?  I’m still waiting for Denny’s input on how (or if) GA influenced his muse.  I'm so grateful for our creative network, and I encourage every writer and artist (and musician, or whatever) to find one of their own.