What was the idea that originally began Colorworld?
The death-touch, actually. I was intrigued by the idea of someone unable to physically connect with others. My mom, in describing her experiences with nursing/comforting my dad through cancer, made the observation: “Don’t take for granted the impact you can have with a simple touch of the hand.” It stuck with me because I’ve never been much of a hands-on person. I was one of those people that took it for granted. Nevertheless, touching is what I wanted to write about, if only to understand it more to figure out how exactly it plays into human experience.
When/how did energy medicine come into it?
I needed a backstory for how Wendy ended up being unable to touch people. And I like plausibility. As an avid believer in the potential of the human soul, I explored what methods might allow someone to tap into that power. When I came across energy medicine, I knew it was what I was looking for. I became so enthralled with it and its possible implications that I really got into it. It took over the entire story then, but I was happy to let it because it really is an undervalued, under-explored realm that gets a lot of flack for not being scientifically measurable/observable.
What about the colorworld?
Honestly, I wrote the chapter in which Wen first saw the lights of the colorworld while doing energy medicine before I’d ever conceived of the colorworld and before I’d ever read the Zohar. I remember writing that she opened her eyes and was blinded by the light of Gabe’s life force and pausing right after. I sat back and thought, “Whaaaat?” I was confused because it had come out of the blue. And it just seemed so far-fetched and I felt like I was getting carried away. I was trying to write about a girl with a death-touch for goodness sake, not a girl that sees souls.
I kept at it, just to see where it would go. I then wrote the chapter where she gets a really good look at life forces and describes that what she sees is a world of color. I stopped right there because then I really thought I was letting my comic book-junkie imagination get carried away. So I started researching it, trying to figure out what a person might see if they actually did see souls/life forces. I turned to Jewish mysticism, because those rabbis are just so good at asking and attempting to answer impossible questions like that. I came across that passage of the Zohar.
I was literally stunned that I’d already written exactly what I had just found in the Zohar. It was a powerful moment and it was that moment that I knew this story was not really about a death-touch (that was a side-story). This story was about seeing life forces and what that could mean in the grand scheme of things.
The colorworld took over everything after that. And it became the motivating concept behind what I learned would become an entire series.