I believe that inspiration follows you everywhere, no matter where you go, and can strike at any moment on a daily basis. The books you read, the media you watch, and the interactions you have with others can all inspire your writing.
The two biggest places where I draw my inspiration from are books and pop culture. No matter what story I’m writing, these factors always influence me. With The Genesis of Seven, there were three particular inspirations that motivated me to write this story.
1. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
I’ve read all three parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy, which include Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. By far the most poignant images of Heaven and Hell come from this classic work, and this imagery inspired me to use and adapt it in my own writing. My levels of Hell differ from Dante’s, but the same idea is there—giving a structure to the underworld. Another aspect of Dante’s world that inspired me is how he refers to Heaven as the empyrean, which is what I decided to call my series. And finally, I have to acknowledge how the first line in The Genesis of Seven is a direct link to Dante, and I simply could not think of a better way to start this series other than connect it to the greatest literary work that fictionalized Heaven and Hell.
2. Paradise Lost by John Milton
In a similar way, Paradise Lost is perhaps the next greatest portrayal of Satan and Hell. I always knew that I would depict Satan more as a fallen angel than a monstrous creature, and once I read Paradise Lost, I knew even more that I had to pursue this interpretation. The idea of making Satan an active ruler in Hell was inspired by Paradise Lost, so much so I even considered using a line from the work as the title of my book. I ultimately decided against it because it didn’t encompass the whole story, but it just goes to show how inspired I am by Milton’s reimagining of Satan and Hell.
3. The Avengers
Finally, the one pop culture inspiration for The Genesis of Seven are The Avengers movies. My brother and I are big fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to the point where we’ve seen all the movies pretty much on opening night, but the element from the movies that inspired parts of my book are the concepts of the origin story and team-up narrative. The Avengers each have a backstory that is not only important to their character, but also is essential to when they all unite and work together. I wanted a similar thing to happen with the angels where they all shared a backstory that directly impacted their future team-up. Whenever I was writing, it was hard not to compare the angels to superheroes since their purpose is very much the same—save the world from utter destruction.
I never thought all three of things would morph into inspirations for the same the book, but you can now see how the foundation of The Genesis of Seven has been built by all three. More than anything, these key inspirations solidified my ideas and allowed me to see that it was possible to write The Genesis of Seven the way I wanted to write it.