As we get closer to the release of my first book of The Askinar Towers trilogy, I want to share with you some of the writing process it took to create these stories. Last week we looked at the back-story of the towers themselves. This week I want to look more closely at one of the locations visited in the towers themselves. This is a Behind-the-scenes (BTS) article.
The Location for Information
When I was a gamer of Dungeons and Dragons in the late 80s I learned that the best place to learn about something, find someone, or to obtain an adventure hook was in the local tavern of the town. All of your adventurers went to the tavern. In addition to the usual food and drink, gambling, bar fights, and other opportunities; taverns were the place where one could go to get information concerning the local ruler, hire a guide for the area dungeon or simply to meet up with other adventurers to establish a group.
A tavern that I create a few years ago was a place called Quenchers. The difference to this tavern, compared to others, is that it was more family friendly and offered full meals as opposed to just meat, bread and cheese. The tavern owner was a longtime character of mine who currently goes by the name of Denbar Karma. Denbar is a thief grandmaster and is mostly retired. He operates twenty-three taverns of the same name, though there are rumor that the count is actually twenty-five. We’ll discuss more of Denbar and his place in a later article.
Family and Adventurer Friendly
For book 1 I wanted something that was less of a tavern but still represented a place where one could go for information or meet someone. Given that this story is aimed at Middle Grade children, I decided upon a restaurant that took up an entire floor in the Tower of Water. At the time I didn’t know offhand what to call it or where to put it in the tower. My MCs, Sara and Erika, and their new companion Johnny Secret, first entered into the tower and decided to go up to the top floor to see if they can figure out where they are.
The elevator only went up to Floor 98 and as they got off they notice two doors: One for Floor 99 and one for Floor 100. To prevent spoilers for the upcoming story, I’ll not say anymore about this scene except that they soon find themselves further down the tower a few minutes later.
The Floor 17 Café
I don’t recall why I chose this floor for the café but it seems to work as a quirky name for a quirky establishment. It’s quirky because technically it’s a restaurant complete with Maitre D and a wait staff. It’s called a café because well, I’ll have Maurice explain it to you…
“The word ‘restaurant’ is too long for our monogrammed uniforms. And the word ‘Bistro’ is so underused and misunderstood.”
Corny, but it works. The café does go through a change in book 2 but we’ll discuss that later.
The beauty of this café, and all four towers really, is that every form of character can dine or drink here. I’m talking about Sci-fi aliens, Fantasy dwarves, and humans in business suits; all meet here to enjoy a meal. And why not? After all the food is free. Yes, you read that correctly, everything is FREE!! Mostly because I was too lazy to invent prices for each of the items but, and here’s Maurice again to explain it…
“This café, here in the Tower of Water, is designed to feed one and all patrons. We have many visitors from different worlds and realms and it is our duty to serve them and we are happy to do so.”
Some of the people that frequent the café are:
Two Dwarves at a corner table: This is the Stonefist Twins, Reb and Rikka. They are masterbuilders for a company called Centaur 21 (boasting the building of houses and castles in 21 days or less) (Author’s Note: When I was a gamer and would DM games, every tavern scene involved two dwarves at a corner table. I never developed anything from them at the time and none of the PCs ever went over to them. They eventually ended up here.)
Three Businessmen Power Lunch: Almost always present, three humans in 3 piece suits with briefcases and cell phones. They talk the business lingo though no one has seen them do any actual work.
Adventuring Party: Known as Destiny’s Six they comprise of: Manitoba (M-Minotaur mage), Baruch (M-Giant fighter), Jolojam (M-Halfling fighter), Devandander (M-Devan, Halfling thief), Lochan (M-Elf priest), Sarinna (F-Elf Ranger).
Maurice and Chuck
The final two people I want to talk about are Maurice and Chuck. Maurice is the head Maitre D and is, supposedly French. I say supposedly as he has been known to lose his accent on occasion. He becomes one of Sara and Erika’s most trusted friends in all of the towers and you will see that relationship develop over the three books. I chose a French type character, as that is what I always envisioned for a Maitre D.
Chuck, on the other hand, is one of the waiters; a young red headed teen who is constantly being harassed by Maurice for his laziness. I mention Chuck here for two reasons: 1) He is the only waiter I named in the trilogy thereby a regular when the girls arrive, and 2) I have recently started a new writing project which features Chuck as the main character. You can find his observations here at Floor 17 Café blog.
The Floor 17 Café has become one of my favorite places to write and talk about and you’ll see why when the books are released. Outside of Quenchers, I would personally love to visit here, provided I was wearing a wetsuit.