I had been tinkering with Khajj for a while in 3D before I even knew I was going to write a novel. She had sort of taken root in my imagination and blossomed into a full blown visual project before even a single word was penned. This character was sort of always tumbling through my mind and making trouble.
One of the things I loved about her was her vulnerability. Khajj was glamorous, dark, powerful but also visceral and real. I have never been attracted to perfect people or characters. Khajj’s allure was her ability to triumph over nearly impossible odds. Sometimes she would win and sometimes she would lose but it was that fighting spirit that truly bewitched me.
For a while I was content to create for her sake, visualizing her allure in my work, but eventually I wanted more. One day, as I was driving home, talking to Marzio, it came to me: A book–not just any book but a book of dark fairy tales. I wanted a fully illustrated, erotica book of Khajj’s tumultuous sexual misadventures. As I spoke of it I saw it coming together–a tapestry of textures, dripping with mood and naughtiness. It was a concept that absolutely thrilled Marzio who could only gush at the other end of the line. “Oh my fucking God, Yes!” I heard him say, giddy with excitement, “we must do this.” I couldn’t agree more.
Steadily, the idea possessed us. What if we could write a novel and offer a coffee table erotic art book as part of the experience? Had it been done before? Would a publisher be interested in picking up both? We mulled this over a long time as we did some research into the industry to discover that a big publishing house was not the answer for us. That is when it struck me. We were going to do this all by ourselves.
Truth be told, instead of being daunted by this I felt empowered. By keeping the work in-house we could write whatever we wanted, the way we wanted it and keep the art book, merchandising and the novel all under one roof. As we began writing our initial concepts for the book it became clear that Khajj was soon becoming a monumental task. Suddenly we had a story-line so epic and vast it wasn’t ever going to fit in one novel. At the time we didn’t have a web site or a plan or a clue as to how to tackle the mountain of inspiration that was Khajj.
It took upwards of two years to wrap our brains around the concept and still the project grew. Khajj held on tight and wouldn’t let go so we kept thinking, working, evolving. She consumed our thoughts until we were living in her universe–a world that flourished, layered over my daily reality.
Co-authoring a book has been thus far one of the easiest and most difficult experiences of my life. Easy because Khajj is effortless. When I am in the zone I get lost for hours and time seems to disappear. Difficult because merging two minds and extracting gold from the pile of rough ideas was nightmarish.
Many times we felt like Sisyphus, rolling the rock up the hill except the hill just kept getting larger.
Audio Clip from Name the Child
Just when we thought we had a plan, my husband Rob, Music Producer at Sepulcher Studios, raised the odds. He loved the energy he was seeing in me. Khajj stoked a fire that was impossible to quench and it lit up my face (and I dare say ignited my soul) every time I talked about the project. A few years back we had talked about collaborating in some way and finally Khajj had opened that door. Rob became so interested when I described some scenes he set about writing music for it.
The sounds that emerged from our recording studio left me breathless. Khajj was pulling strings and making things happen. When Marzio heard it he was equally in awe. We just looked at each other and giggled with nervous anticipation. The music that Rob was composing was strikingly beautiful, dark, mesmerizing and utterly divine.
The bar was set really high by the quality of the sound. Marzio and I were in agreement that our writing had to be at least half as good as the music. It has since become an inside joke. The first album will be 13 tracks and will feature music inspired by various scenes across the entire trilogy.
The project had now evolved into much more than a mere art book. Khajj had become what I like to describe as an experience. Just recently I have been in talks with Mike Locasio a prolific sculptor responsible for the World of Warcraft action figures (among other things) who will be sculpting limited collector edition resin statues of our beloved character.
As it stands right now, the scope of Khajj is a trilogy of novels, a soundtrack, an interactive iPad app of erotic art, a storytelling game and in the future, limited edition statues done in bronze resin.
What else is in store for our wicked main character…only fate knows.