Fifth Sun | Behind the Scenes: Origins

Hello everyone!

Only ONE WEEK until Revenge de los Muertos releases into the world! Can you believe how quickly time has passed? In this week’s post, I wanted share a bit about the origin of this series including things such as where the idea came from, my various inspirations, and a bit more into the magic system/world-building that you’ll be diving into with book one. Before we get to all of that, I just want to remind you to hurry and pre-order your copy as well as add it to your Goodreads. There’s also still some time left to sign-up for the official Book Blitz. Your support means so much to me! Thank you!

SPECIAL PRE-ORDER PRICE! ORDER ON KINDLE FOR ONLY $0.99 NOW THROUGH 11/2/21

Be sure to pre-order your copy for Kindle and add it to your Goodreads! Day of the Dead (November 2nd) will be here before you know it and Revenge de los Muertos (Fifth Sun, #1) will be published for you to read!

Now, let’s get to the fun stuff…


The Beginning

Where did the idea for Fifth Sun come from?

The idea to write an urban fantasy series came during the summer of 2020 as lockdown had me a) finally binge-reading the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs and b) finally binge-watching The Vampire Diaries TV show. Both had been on my To-Do list for years and at last I found myself with the time and energy to dive in. I loved the Mercy Thompson series so much it motivated me to write my own. The TV show, while at times filled with a cringe-worthy amount of drama typical of the CW network, became easily addicting and reinforced my desire to write something with vampires, werewolves, and witches. Filled with inspiration, I finally sat down one Saturday and spent hours writing in my notebook everything about this idea that had begun to blossom in my mind.

The whole vampires, werewolves, witches thing has been done SO MUCH, I wondered how I could make my series unique. This is when the idea to use my Mexican roots struck me. Where should it be set? Mexico! What mythology would found the paranormal? Mexica/Aztec!

And that’s really all it took. Great art inspires great art. Or, in this case, when you find a series (book or TV) that brings you so much entertainment, try to pay it forward whether by telling others about it, boosting them on social media, or even writing your very own series to contribute to the genre and its fans!

If you enjoy the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, Annette Marie’s Guild Codex series, The Vampire Diaries, or the like, then I’m really hoping that you’ll enjoy Fifth Sun as well. If you’re not a big fan of those series, then I still hope that you’ll give Fifth Sun a try and find yourself enjoying it. Maybe it can become your introduction to the genre!

I had so much fun crafting Fifth Sun, but of course it can’t stop at just an idea. Onto the next section!

Resources

Did I do much research before or while writing this series?

Yes and no. 90% of this series and all its parts, at the very least, came from my own imagination and/or experiences. The resources I used most for “research” were translation dictionaries, my mom, the local Mexican grocery store (okay fine visiting the store so often was mostly just to indulge myself with delicious snacks) and the internet (yes, my professors trained me well and I did not simply pull up Wikipedia or questionable blogs for info haha). One thing I’ve always had is an active (perhaps oftentimes over-active) imagination and though I decided to set this series in a different country and culture, I chose to set it in a city I’ve been to several times while visiting family there so I am not only familiar with it visually, but culturally. Maybe I wasn’t born in Mexico, but my mom was and between her and my own experiences I felt confident enough to use it as a setting. Honestly the thought of writing a series honoring that part of my heritage was so exciting for me!

That all being said, I did buy a few books for “research” but ended up perusing them after the fact and simply for my own enjoyment and curiosity. If you’d like to learn more about the Aztecs/Mexica, Mexico, mythology, and more, then here’s the list of books:

  • Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (7th edition) by Michael D. Coe & Rex Koontz
  • American Brujeria: Modern Mexican American Folk Magic by J. Allen Cross
  • Larousse: Nuevo Diccionario Manual Ilustrado by Ramón García-Pelayo y Gross
  • Nahuatl-English English-Nahuatl Dictionary by Fermin Herrera
  • The Myths of Mexico & Peru by Lewis Spence
  • Fifth Sun: A New History of the Aztecs by Camilla Townsend
  • A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

If you’re looking for some digital sources, try Britannica.com, Mexicolore.co.uk, nahuatl.uoregon.edu, or check out John Leguizamo’s one-person play, Latin History for Morons, on Netflix.

I’ve got to say, besides translation aids, the most research I did was trying to craft the origin story for this magic-filled world but more on that in the next section…

World-Building & Magic

As this series is an urban fantasy, it takes place in our world. In other words, it takes place in a real city in a real country that exists here in the version of earth that we are all living in. What makes it “fantasy” is that I throw in magic.

Okay, I know I just said that Fifth Sun takes place in a real city but to be technically accurate it exists in a city based on a real city. Essentially, I took the city of Tlaxcala and added a bakery that doesn’t exist, rearranged a few things, added some other spots that you won’t find should you go visit, but the majority holds true. Should you ever visit Tlaxcala, then you’ll find it a bit familiar. Mostly, I think my family will find it familiar as I even base Rafael’s house off of my abuelito’s. Other than my modifications for story’s sake, the setting of this series is an absolutely real place.

Now the magic…

There’s a group of people of Mexica origin whom possess magical powers in this series. Most of this I just made up in my head. The magic system itself isn’t particularly complex or unique though there is a system I devised just to help keep things organized as I developed characters and wrote out the stories. (OH MY GOODNESS. I literally just now as I’m writing this post realized that I was probably subconsciously inspired by Merlin (the awesome BBC TV show) for the element of the magic system where the nahualtin’s eyes turn gold when casting magic. That is so crazy haha! There are other books, shows, etc. that use the gold-eyes thing but I’ll give Merlin the thanks. Btw I love that show and haven’t seen it in forever. If it’s still on Netflix then I’m so re-watching it!). I also wanted to take common paranormal creatures such as vampires and werewolves and such and give them a Mexican spin. I essentially combined vampires and werewolves to create the tlacocoyotl, selected witches as the main class of magic-users, and gave it all a Mexica/Aztec foundation. This is where I had to do a little research.

I really wanted to infuse the world-building with a blend of Mexica/Aztec lore and Christian lore. Now the Bible stuff I already knew very well. The Aztec stuff however… I knew bits and pieces (For example, I already knew the story of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, my family living not only in Tlaxcala but Puebla and Mexico City.) but the Aztec pantheon had me baffled and it turns out the Aztecs were just a hot mess when it came to that stuff haha. As many conquering groups do, they absorbed the gods of the conquered into their own dominating belief system but boy as far as I could find it was not very organized haha. Multiple gods of the same thing, varying stories accompanying these gods and goddesses, etc. So, in the end, I decided to pluck a few from the squad and use them as I wanted. If they were allowed to do that to most of the stories/gods in their pantheon then I figured so could I.

Mostly I focused on the story of the five suns (we’re currently living in the time of the Fifth Sun which is thought to one day end in earthquakes or sky monsters…a.k.a. aliens? lol), chose the creation god Ometeotl, retitled the Aztecs’ various gods/goddesses as angels and demons, then began to weave the unique foundation to the magic-infused world of Fifth Sun. Some may find this sacrilegious or disrespectful, but it’s a fictional world and required its own fictional origin story, no? The thing is, whenever I read books full of magic, somehow more often than not God is tossed out of the picture, in fact any sort of creation story is simply ignored. I wanted my series to be different. I wanted it to have a creation story and I really wanted it to stem from God. It’s always important to me to include my faith in all of my books and this series wasn’t going to be an exception. I also sort of took inspiration for this from C.S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia series where our world exists but so does Narnia which is filled with magic but no less loved by God. I know I might be sounding a bit preemptively defensive about all this, but ultimately I’m the author so I can do what I want haha. Just know that I didn’t blend these two religions with any disrespect intended.

Don’t worry though if you’re not big into creation stories. I think they’re fun, but I agree that a book can’t get too hung up on it. We want characterization, action, adventure, mystery, romance, and other exciting stuff! Fifth Sun includes all of that and more, I simply didn’t want to ignore the creation story because as I said I think they’re interesting and fun to craft.


I hope you enjoyed reading this post about the origins of the Fifth Sun series! Revenge de los Muertos is almost here! Don’t forget, you can go ahead and pre-order for Kindle and be sure to add Revenge de los Muertos to your Goodreads! If you’re a book reviewer or promoter (i.e. blogger), there’s still a bit of time left to sign up for the official Book Blitz with Xpresso Book Tours and help give this new series a special kick off!

Stay tuned…


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