I’m currently writing and planning out ‘A Sense for Memory: Part II’, the sequel to my first novel. Not only is it a sequel to my first book but it will be my 6th written book overall, so of course I want it to be good! Since creating my first trilogy I have learned a lot about how to pace myself as an author and illustrator, and these new books should hopefully demonstrate a big jump in skill, as well as be even more exciting and fun than the first three.
In ‘A Sense for Memory: Part II’, as well as some other supplementary Z-Verse projects on the horizon, we’re going to get even more worldbuilding and more of a view into the environments, ships and animals that make up the Z-Verse. I wanted especially to create the Sacellum the character Xa-Kol resides in, as the building is going to be a hub for this character in later adventures.
In the context of my series these Sacellums are the seat of power for the Illusionist class of Zurxok. Although there is no magic in the supernatural sense of the word in the Z-Verse, the Illusionists are an important part of Zurxok society nonetheless. They are shamans, magicians, soothsayers and artisans, serving as spies, advisors and historians within Zurxok society. Their power has waxed and waned over the centuries but the field and its practitioners are still respected and admired by the time the Z-Verse takes place.
In the story Xa-Kol is introduced as a young-ish Zurxok female, something of an eccentric hothead, who is in charge of a very small Sacellum in a mid-tier city. Because there is no Archimage to govern the renovation of this Sacellum or to oversee the more junior apprentices, Xa-Kol seizes on the opportunity to insinuate herself as an interim Archimage and take over the project.
I first started with a sketch of the Sacellum. This sketch was done quickly and was informed by what I had already written in the first book. I described a lavish but small building, occupied by only a handful of Illusionists, with the upstart Xa-Kol already claiming the office as her own. For the sketch I envisioned a two-storey building with art nouveau style windows and graceful pillars surrounding the structure. Due to Xa-Kol’s fondness for nature (seen more clearly in her chapter in the novel), I also decided that the Sacellum would have cared for grounds and be surrounded by trees, stone paths and perhaps a water feature somewhere further in the wood.
I also started thinking about the interior of the Sacellum and in particular Xa-Kol’s office where a lot of her pondering and humorous messages with Commander Qwatajawa take place. Her office has a circular layout, a painted sky ceiling and plenty of bric-a-brac strewn about the place. I figure Xa-Kol has a messy streak and probably needs to clean up at least once every few days because of her poor habits in leaving things laying about.
In all of the architecture associated with Xa-Kol I’ve included circular or oceanic elements (the swirl-framed windows, round bookcases and the dome amongst other things). The reason for this is because I feel circles and flowing forms are a good representation of Xa-Kol’s personality and the aesthetics of the Zurxok species more broadly. These forms are playful, mysterious and powerful. The use of circles also creates a connection with Xa-Kol’s thematic association with the moon.