When I conceived the story of The Alchemist’s Theorem I was putting a lot of hours into playing the video game Skyrim. I loved the alchemy portion of the virtual world and continued to pick flowers and collect other reagents quickly as enemies approached me, knowing my priorities.
There was something therapeutic about making potions and poisons through trial and error. It relaxed me and made me feel productive. I became a bit of a hoarder, too. Sometimes I loaded my game just so I could look through my inventory and enjoy all of my virtual collections.
Creating The School of Alchemy in my book made me envious of my characters. They get to exist there and live productive lives as alchemists in a rich, exotic, fantasy world. I can only live that life vicariously through them.
Here is an excerpt describing the dome house that is part of the campus:
“Mendel took a breath and found Esther’s tail and played with it absently while absorbing and processing his surroundings. They passed through the archway and entered a garden the size of Abylant [Mendel’s small hometown] that was enclosed in a giant glass dome. The panes of glass varied in color and texture. Some let light straight through, others blocked or refracted it. A few panes were faintly colored, tinting the light that shone through. Beams, shafts and rays of sunlight rained down into the dome in chaotic patterns. Patches of trees grew throughout the structure, some grew short and fat, some grew tall and thin and reached the highest point of the dome. Thick vines crawled up window struts all the way to the dome’s apex. Strange pods of blooming flowers floated on their own. There was exotic plant life everywhere. The air was filled with a confusion of scents. Esther was sniffing frantically in circles on the boy’s shoulder. The full spectrum of colors glowed in the setting sunlight and Mendel felt he was seeing some colors for the first time in his life.”