Goodreads asked NOT A BOOK:

Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?

NOT A BOOK I've always been fascinated by strange and remote locations, and I'd learned about Gough Island many years ago. As one of the most remote inhabited spots on Earth, it made me feel uneasy in a way I wanted to explore.

Then I happened to hear a very interesting song, Rasputina's "Oh Bring Back the Egg Unbroken," which is based on a Rapa Nui (Easter Island) bird-man ritual. While I didn't base anything directly on that particular ritual, the general idea of a strange island culture that few people knew about stuck in my head.

Eventually, the two ideas bumped into each other, and I wondered what a little-known civilization on Gough Island might be like. I've always been interested in worldbuilding, but I wanted to build something that was firmly and plausibly based on reality, so I carefully crafted the Mesdu culture and history based on heavy research over the period of several months, including geology, oceanography, biology, sociology, anthropology, meteorology, etc. I also mapped out the discovery of Gough Island and various other historical encounters, so that the history of the Mesdu could plausibly be compatible with other existing historical documents. I also took quite some time to develop a unique language for the Mesdu, knowing that would add a sense of realism and consistency that might be hard to establish otherwise.

The fact that the Mesdu civilization had a religious reason to want to avoid being made public meant that there had to be some kind of conspiracy. Once I started exploring that idea, the rest of the pieces just fell into place, and it felt like the book was writing itself. It was a blast.

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more