This week’s Music Monday is a little different with Olivier Derivière’s United.
Olivier Derivière is a French composer whose works have mainly been video game sountracks. I will confess I don’t know his work terribly well – that’s something I plan on rectifying in the very near future! United comes from the AC: Black Flag expansion/extension Freedom Cry.
So what’s so different? It represents a road not taken.
As I mentioned in the first post for part 3, I did most of the plotting for Cambiante on one single 3.7km walk, but one thing I didn’t nail down at that point was exactly where I was going to base Emilio. I was leaning towards Cuba and Havana, but I didn’t have any particularly strong reasons for that location and there were plenty of other options open to me. I knew a (very rough) timeline of what happened between 1500 and the present through that region, but I dug into it a bit more, putting a bit more detail onto that timeline.
Some locations were definitely out as a home base – Jamaica and Barbados were both too obvious and also too British, given the background I was giving Emilio. Others I thought about a bit harder – having him remain on the mainland (Mexico or further south in to Belize) was a strong candidate – but ultimately discarded as not quite fitting right. In the end, it came down to two locations. Cuba and Haiti. Haiti’s major plus point is its history as having been home to a successful slave rebellion and, though Emilio’s background is Spanish and the Haitian colony was French, Hispaniola is where Columbus landed so it did tie together quite nicely.
On the other hand, I was wary about setting a story in Haiti. It’s not a country I know and I didn’t want to end up either exagerating the social and political situation or underplaying it. Which is not to say Cuba was particularly easy to use as a location – again, the politics and social situation are an interesting proposition. Either one was going to need a lot of research. What finally tipped me to use Cuba was the underwater geology off the western end of the island which directly led me to the major subplot in Cambiante.
So Haiti is the road not taken and United, a song sung in Haitian Creole, is added to the soundtrack as a reminder that for every point that ends up in a book, there’s usually ten or fifteen points been considered and discarded!
(Though nothing’s ever forgotten: as much as I haven’t used Haiti as the main location for Cambiante, there’s bits of history there that I’ve logged away for use in future short stories, so it’s probably safe to say, you haven’t heard the last of the Saint-Domingue slave rebellion…)
The Elsehere Soundtrack on Spotify has been updated to add this in.
That’s all for now. Happy reading and listening!