I’ve loved talking cats since I read Puss in Boots in Angela Carter’s The Bloody ChamberI suppose a lot of my talking cat characters owe something to her.

The Primi of Crimon fall into two distinct groups, those who follow Criamon’s teaching and those of the remnant Empedoclean tradition.  Those of the older tradition name themselves after the characters from Greek tragedy after ascending to primushood.  Those who follow the newer style do not.  I had this idea while reading Avengers: Ultron Imperative, the plot of which revolves around robotic Oedipal fixations.  The axis magica idea derives very loosely from Mao Shen Taoism.

Osteomantic magic is an idea I’ve been fooling with for about a decade, since I read Skeleton by Ray Bradbury in The October Country.  The problem with osteomancers is they seem to get more and more ghoulish as they progress.  Since they use Creo Corpus to build things, instead of repair the body, they have a habit of making progressively more disgusting things.  The idea that Corpus magi might become infected with their own sigils I first had when writing Tintagel PBeM.  There a magus was fading into ghostliness and, as the first stage, his body had lost its colour, so that he, and his props, were all shaded grey.

The idea that magical trade made more sense than magical war is one I’ve had for a long time.  It’s fundamental to the idea that it’s better to specialise and trade with your neighbours than to generalise and intermittently kill your neighbours.  While writing Sanctuary I was also reading Julian May’s Rampart Worlds series, which unfortunately contained an idea I wanted to run with, the Hermetic flavour bomb.  I changed that to a Hermetic wonder drug, the amaranth flower.  Although amaranth didn’t make it to the published version, I’d strongly encourage campaigns centred around odd trade goods.  

The idea of an Hermetic university doesn’t come from Hogwartz, but from To Serve Them All My Days by R,. F. Delderfield.  Hecatomb was not based on quidditch.  My brothers and I used to play a game where you set up armies of soldiers on a billiard table then use marbles to knock the other person’s soldiers over.  I had a book read to me, back when I was a primary schooler, where someone else played the same game using kittens as their weapons of war, and the plastic soldiers and kittens were the source of the snowmen and magical beasts.


A lot of the music I was listening to while writing the book has bubbled into the text.  The Whitlam class of magic item is named after a band, since draft 2 was written with Love This City on permanent play.  The Primus Jane is named after a song by the Barenaked Ladies.  I wanted a plain name. to make her different from the more mystical primi, and that happened to be playing while I was typing the sentence.  I also listened to some They Might Be Giants, and they are out on the Righi.  Dancers on the Righi, on the page for spells that didn’t make it, wasn’t inspired by Cyclops Rock, but it should have been.  The Hermetic asylum was based on The Perscription of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether by the Alan Parson’s Project.  I was listening to Haunted by Poe during the final drafting on the Cave of Twisting Shadows.

I knew a lightning magus had been mentioned in Order of Hermes, but I only had the idea of including her – I decided it should be a her – while listening to Enough to Be On Your Way by James Taylor.  It’s a character study of a woman, an ancestress, who has passed away.  I wanted a similar feeling to my character.  The verse which gave me the idea was

“They bought her back on Friday night, the same day I was born.

They sent her up the smokestack, yes, and back into the storm.

She blew up over the San Juan mountains.  She spent herself at last. 

 The threat of heavy weather, that was what she knew the best.”

To me this sounded like a eulogy for an Auram maga.  Eventually I had the idea for a mystically-linked enemy, like a lover, and so I divided the character in half and set the halves at odds.


The Writers In Townsville Society have been a constant source of perplexed encouragement, as I’ve asked them their opinions of various parts of the Sanctuary Project.

Adam Bank wrote the virtue system for Larta magi.  Virtuoso.


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