There is an odd thing that happens to fiction writers. Sometimes, when you begin laying out a story, you uncover knowledge that you never knew you possessed. This happened to me a lot while writing Zac's Guitar.
I knew that I wanted to write about a boy and a magic guitar. What I didn't expect was to uncover a plausible connection between Theoretical Physics (String Theory) and my magic guitar. Consciously, I knew nothing about String Theory but I saw something on television that captured my attention and prompted me to do some research. When I did, I found that this story that I had been writing not only needed String Theory, but it had the right character to develop this connection and was written as if it had always been my intention to include it.
Now, I'm working on Servants of the Legacy. My first step was to work on some character creation. After thirteen years and five books that included the Highgate Paranormal Research Society, coming up with new characters would be a challenge.
My process usually involves making a list of names with a short biography, explaining their place in the book, and giving them a home location.
The second character that I listed was a young man named Danny who was from Alaska. I didn't know why he was from Alaska. In my mind, he just was. Weeks later, while doing research on Nazca, Peru for the book, I stumbled upon a diagram that looked like the one below:
Now, I'm left wondering if this is a coincidence. Did I see this diagram before and simply forget about it until I needed it for my work? I don't recall ever hearing about this connection before.
The writing process is truly an amazing and magical thing!