Jason answers a question or two about the story or world in which The Threat Below takes place. If you have any questions that you would love answered, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you originally conceive of the TTB plot - what inspired you?
I’ll give a non-spoiler answer, and then a spoiler-y answer.
I moved to California about ten years ago, and being so close to mountains after growing up without them was overwhelming in a good way. I hike into the mountains about 5-6 times a week, and frequently will take a trail which rises above the clouds so that you cannot see what’s going in the world below. Being from a place where when it’s cloudy there was no way to get above and still see the sun, this seems miraculous to me. I guess it should have been obvious, but I never realized that elevation can make such a difference in your life. Growing up on the east coast, the weather was the weather, but here in California it can be a hot desert and you can climb a mountain and end up in snow. Having different climates jammed up against each other, and observing that some plants and creatures live higher on a mountain while others only live in the lower lands, that some things can survive only in the canyons where the streams flow, and others live in the drier areas – all of these differences were hidden from me growing up. But noticing them now, I thought of a place above the clouds where maybe humans could live but monsters couldn’t, and how that place could serve as the last refuge for humanity after those monsters had spread everywhere else. On those hikes, thinking of these kinds of things it where The Threat Below was born.
Spoiler so don’t read unless you’ve read the book:
While hiking and above the clouds, I would think of Mount Olympus, and how according to Ancient Greek mythology, the top of that cloud-shrouded mountain was where the gods lived. I imagined what it would be like to live below, and believe this, and look up at the mountain and think “they live up there, and I’m forbidden to go meet them.” And then I thought, wow, what if the gods did live up there, and they had escaped to it because they were afraid of the humans? What if that’s why the gods never came down from their mountain? Then I got excited about this idea and dynamic – humans at the top of the mountain terrified of what they’d created, while the creation is at the bottom yearning to be reunited with their gods. From that came Omathis and Eveshone and their desire to reunite with the Brathius line.