My first couple of weeks in Manhattan were everything I had hoped they would be. I joined a gym, started jogging across the park to work, wondered back home across the park via Whole Foods – technically economising in Manhattan (have you ever heard anything so glorious?!) – enjoyed the somewhat alien sunshine that appeared without fail every day, and got to grips with tipping (at – crazy to an English person – 20%!).
During the walks back through the park in the evening I found myself daydreaming through book ideas, ticking off the components I knew I would have to include and picking through a stream of potential stories. I always seemed to come back to a number of similar themes, including: fantasy, magic, human abilities just surpassing our own, Gods, power, wealth, status, hierarchy, authority and its legitimacy, sociology – specifically primary socialisation, love, attraction, sustained intrigue, what makes us human, different kinds of people, motivations in life, and the question of objective moral rights and wrongs. This was fun in its own right, but before I got into the detail, I had to first understand the big picture I was going to create, so the world and its big issues were what I worked on first.
To begin with I conjured a world with eight unique Gods, each with different skills and abilities. Each God created people in their image, who they put into a world much like our own. However, although I liked the idea of Gods and people with skills to reflect them, it quickly became clear that eight was just too much to manage; serious refinement would be required.