Bona Dea is part of a binary star system of eleven planets and possesses two moons. The planet consists of one large continent, hundreds of small offshore islands, and an even larger ocean. A single towering mountain range bisects the continent. On the western side of the mountain range rages the Great Storm, an electromagnetic phenomenon little understood by science. The Storm rages continuously in the same location at the same intensity and has done so for over 300 years. The Prophets live beneath the Great Storm, isolated from the rest of the population.
The remainder of the continent is divided into four governmental regions, each of which elects representatives to serve on the People’s Council, the main legislative body for the 600,000 plus residents. The Protectress acts as a voice for the people and her job is to weigh any and all decisions of the Council against the Covenants in order to ensure compliance. The boundaries were set during the first two years after the settlers’ arrival, during a time with the society was still in flux. Being human beings, the people immediately vied for resources and apparent wealth, hording ores, gems, water, and anything useable. Skirmishes broke out and lives were lost whenever raiding parties crossed these arbitrary borders.
Out of the Great Storm, a woman appeared and spoke at length to the people, urging them to put down their weapons and make way for a new way of life. They listened. For once, the people listened. This woman was the First Protectress, a woman named Amelia Saugray. She was the founding member of the family that would lead the people in a new direction.
During the long voyage from Earth, the human immigrants found that, in order to ensure the best rate of survival, they needed to change the structure of their community. Among the thirteen generation ships used to transport the settlers, resources were precious, recycling was integral to a continuous supply of resources, and equal distribution was mandatory. This lifestyle carried over into their planet-based settlements. Living under a set of Covenants that are intended to guarantee equality for all members of their colony, the people of Bona Dea work together to provide food, clothing, medical care, and housing to everyone, with each individual providing services and goods as required.
Now there is no money. Crime is at a minimum. People are encouraged to pursue occupations that interest and fulfill them, as long as they volunteer to provide infrastructure services from time-to-time, such as disaster relief, road repair, crop sowing and harvesting, and building maintenance. At the age of 17, most young adults leave home for their first
work assignment, based on their personal interests, and have a chance to travel to other parts of the continent. These opportunities promote well-rounded lifestyles.
Creating this World:
I’m a lover of Star Trek and Gene Rodenberry’s vision that the world can become a place where everyone is valued for their skills and everyone has an opportunity to reach their potential. Using his ideals, I crea
ted a world where people are always willing to help each other succeed and prosper.
The best way to accomplish this in fiction is to have the people start over on a new world. They look at the universe with a different set of criteria than we do at present, impacted by their long journey to escape an Earth that has collapsed both ecologically and economically. The world came first, giving me a sturdy platform on which to build adventure, conflict, and resolution. My characters, noted by reviewers as realistic and relatable, grew from brief sketches in short stories to richly composed individuals with complex relationships and worldviews. These characters will continue to evolve as the series progresses, and new adventures will unfold.
Writing has always been a cathartic exercise for me. I use words to express feelings and ideas that might not otherwise be discussable in the public realm of a small town. I am constantly reading and researching to enrich my stories, as well as experimenting with the human condition, even when the characters aren’t human.