Travel To Yusei With The SFRB Summer Blog Hop!

S. J. Pajonas July 10, 2016
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Welcome to the SFRB Summer Blog Hop!

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post and visit the other blogs in the blog hop!

Removed_Pajonas_ebook_200x300When I first started writing the Nogiku Series, I knew I wanted to write two novels on Earth, in Nishikyō, the last city, and then two novels on the colonization planet of Yūsei. I wanted to explore both worlds, and experience them and their differences through my characters’ eyes. Not only could I show their wonder over their surroundings, but I could also build a new planet and continent from scratch. How fun that would be!

I took to this task readily, researching ecology and different ecosystems, how deserts are formed, mountain climates, how the ocean affects weather patterns, and what I could expect of a world mostly made up of water. I dreamed of this world for months, but sometimes I couldn’t picture it. I didn’t always know where to start. And then I realized I did have a place to start!

I would start with Japan.

Japan is also an island nation with a very wide range of internal ecosystems. They range from tropical in the south near Okinawa, to bitter cold in the north in Hokkaido. I went through lots of maps and photos of Japan and drew upon those to form my areas of Yūsei.

The bamboo forests that surround the southern ninja village.
The bamboo forests that surround the southern ninja village.

I went through the different areas of Japan and parsed them out for the areas of Yūsei that I wanted to highlight in the books.

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I even drew a map! This was originally hand-drawn on paper based on my daydreams of the continent, and then I took a photo of my map and traced it on my computer. Then I gathered more inspiration.

The rivers and bridges of Takayama in the mountains.
The rivers and bridges of Takayama in the mountains.
The rice fields of central Yūsei, near the town of Mino.
The rice fields of central Yūsei, near the town of Mino.

And I couldn’t leave the continent without a great mountain, except I chose two mountains, of course! One heaven and one hell. Akuyama and the black lake it hovers over reminds me of Mount Fuji.

Akuyama and Kuroko Lake.
Akuyama and Kuroko Lake.

It was a lot of fun building this world for my characters to explore. Hopefully you’ll love it too! If you haven’t read REMOVED, it’s free on everywhere! Start this compelling, Japan-inspired series today!

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  • ImogeneNix

    I enjoyed your blog entry thoroughly!

  • I never realized how much work and research was behind Yusei and how it was based on Japan. I think it’s awesome you made an actual map as that really helps with visualizing how the planet looked. I really liked how you set the Nogiku series half on earth and half on another planet.

    I still remember how when i picked up removed I thought I didn’t like sci-fi and Removed was the perfect introduction to the sci-fi genre for me. Together with watching the star wars movies it changed my opinion of the sci-fi genre and now I consider sci-fi one of my favorite genres.

    • 🙂 I’m so glad you took a chance on these books! I remember when we first started talking and I gave you the review copies!

      Yes, I did a lot of research into ecology before I built this world. I wanted to make sure everything seemed plausible.

  • Aurora Springer

    It’s interesting to see where you get inspiration for your world(s)

  • Ed Hoornaert

    I love the depth of research you’ve put into Yusei. Japan tends to be an area of interest for me, as one of my sons is married to a Japanese/Canadian/Chinese woman. Another son was in Tokyo during the huge earthquake a few years ago.

    • Wow I can only imagine how scary it would have been to be in Japan during that big earthquake. I know how devastated I felt watching it from thousands of miles away.

      It was definitely fun to do the research and draw from Japan for this world!

  • Jessica E. Subject

    I love learning about how you came up with the idea for this series, and all the research you did to create the worlds. I absolutely LOVE the new covers for this series! They are attention-grabbing!

  • Pippa Jay/Pip Green

    A very similar image to your bamboo forest is part of what inspired a island in my main series. I didn’t want to do the stereotypical palm trees associated with the idea of tropical islands. My map of it wasn’t anywhere near as impressive as yours (but it’s a smaller island) – I mostly only did one so I knew what they could see facing certain directions, lol.

    • Bamboo forests are really cool and they have a totally different sound to them than regular tree forests. It would be awesome to have a whole island full of them!

  • Very cool! Japan is beautiful and so diverse for such a small area (at least compared to the US.)

    • Yeah, it’s pretty amazing how diverse the country is, for such a small landmass.

  • Love the map! I’m going to visit Japan in November on the way to Taiwan, where my grandmother and most of my family lives. They’ve picked up some Japanese customs from the occupation which are very interesting to see (the way they give and read business cards, for example). What intrigued you about Japan specifically?

    • I’ve written on the topic of how I came to write about Japan a bunch of times so I’ll drop the links in here. But I’ve been studying the culture and language for over 15 years now!

      If you start here on Page 4 of the About Japan archive, you’ll see all I’ve written about on this!

      https://www.spajonas.com/category/about-japan/page/4/

  • Such gorgeous photos!! That bamboo forest alone makes me want to visit Japan. And I love your map – I didn’t know you had one!

    • Yep! You must have missed it in the ebooks because it’s in the Back of Reunited, and then in the front and back of Reclaimed. I didn’t want to put it elsewhere in case it became a spoiler for the series. 🙂

      I really want to visit a bamboo forest one day. Bucket list material.

      • Actually, now that you say it, I think I do remember seeing it. I remember the clan symbols. It looks even more impressive here than it did on my little iPhone screen! 🙂

  • Kyndra Hatch

    Love your map! And Japan as the inspiration for Yusei is wonderful. Such a diverse climate. It’s so fun to write what a character would see and think when they are on a new world. I love that about SciFi Romance too. 🙂

    (I’m going to try to post this comment as a guest. That Disqus thing wanting to have permission to have my google account stuff is scary. So, I hope this works and if it won’t let me put my name, this is Kyndra Hatch. 🙂 )

    • I love figuring out what people will see and experience on a new world!

      And with Disqus, you don’t have to give it access to anything. You can just leave your name and email address. That’s fine. 🙂

  • Wendy

    OMG I love your map! I am such a map geek. Also I just bought meiji green tea and chocolate biscuits to go with my matcha. Almost time for another trip to Uwajimaya’s to restock…

    • I need to restock up on goodies when I’m in Japan in August! Can’t wait!