Anytime I release a new series, I’m often asked where the ideas came from. Stella and Sol was such a fun series to create that I thought I would share a little bit about how it all started.
The entire series started with an idea of a world where half was dark all the time and half was light with no crossover. I think it began as a conversation in the car on a road trip. What would it be like if the sun never set? What would a world without a sun look like?
Stella and Sol was born.
After I had the idea, I had to think about what those worlds would look like, what characteristics would they have. What made each unique?
Sol came first. Daylight all the time. Since there was a lot of sunlight, agriculture made a lot of sense. They could grow just about anything. I modeled the whole world off a medieval European farm kingdom. Nothing modern. The capital city, Zonnes, where my main character lives, is based on the Netherlands. I also made the kingdom monotheistic. They had only Sun and so they worshiped it. I love the exploring ideas of moral right and wrong and good and evil. Sol is incredibly conservative.
I do a ton of genealogy. I love exploring my ancestry and where my family came from. My mom’s whole ancestry is Dutch and so when I chose names for characters in Zonnes, they are all from my own family tree. My main character Zwaantie is the same name as my great-great grandmother. It means little swan.
All the town names in Sol come from various European languages and mean some version of sun, sunshine, or sunray.
If I’m being completely honest, if Stella and Sol were real, I’d pick Stella to live in. No question. When I first dreamed up Stella, I pictured it a little like Vegas. Much more modern, relaxed, and fun. Since it is a fantasy world and completely dark all the time except the stars and moon, they needed to have some way to gain light. Magic made the most sense. The entire kingdom runs on their ability to magically create. The only thing they cannot create is food, so they do a lot of trading with Sol. Morally loose, just about anything goes in Stella. It’s a party all the time.
They polytheistic, worshipping the stars as gods. All the names in Stella come from various constellations or other space related names. Except two. My children wanted their names used in the books. King Ajax is named after my son A.J. and the potions maker Xandria is named after my daughter.
History and Setup
I have a whole history written out, but it’s a bit spoilery, so I’m not going to share it here. Suffice it to say, the kingdoms are separated by a wall of mist that is incredibly dangerous to cross. The wall was created when daylight and night separated. There is very little interaction between the kingdoms. In fact, when our story begins, the only people who ever set foot in the other kingdom are traders and they only cross once a year or so. We have a princess from Sol who wants nothing more than freedom to make her own choices and a prince from Stella who needs to save his own kingdom, even if that means giving up his own happiness.