Goodreads asked Eric Landreneau:

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

Eric Landreneau “BREAK!” was born from a confluence of a few influences in my life. I was just into my first year of college at ODU. My buddies and I played a lot of Diablo II. I always played the barbarian. I loved that character. I don't know if “tank” had entered gaming lingo at that point, but that's what he was. I didn't have to worry much about strategy or nuance. I just pointed my character at the enemy and he made a lot of noise and smashed them. No deep thought, just cathartic smack-down. Some off those traits made it into Skugg, the protagonist.
The next influence was a book I picked up at the beginning off the year, “Entering the Circle” by Dr. Olga Kharatidi. It's a memoir about a Soviet-era psychologist's experience with Siberian Shamanism. Don't know how many times I read that book, but I knew I wanted its principles of dreaming and balanced judgment to inform the religion of Skugg's people.
Finally, there was a class I took that year. Can't remember what it was called, but the gist was “Actually think about and analyze the world around you. Don't just bump along, you sheep.” It was awesome. Our final project was a group presentation of dream-analysis tools applied to deciphering The Matrix, which was new then. Somewhere along the way in one of our lectures Dr. Judy Doumas brought up the notion that our society doesn't have real coming-of-age rituals. No hard-and-fast “You're an adult now. Yay you. Here's some responsibility, so sack up and carry your weight” events. That rang a bell in my head. Even I (who still plays with Legos and thinks we surrender too much enthusiasm and curiosity as we leave childhood) think we've got a problem with extended childishness. So I knew then that I wanted to start the story with a coming-of-age event, lift Skugg up high, then have it all fall apart from there.

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