What inspires you?
For me and my story at-large, it’s the world around me. I watch television shows about far-off lands and can see my environment unfold before my eyes. I attended my brother’s wedding, and decided that one of my characters needed to tie the knot. Walking through a hedge maze this last summer gave me a great idea for a perilous situation for my heroes.
When I was writing fanfic, it was the existing stories and canon. Don’t like a situation a character was placed in? Change it and call it AU! Want to give them a new adventure? Go for it! Kill someone? Well…we won’t discuss what I’ve done. It’s between me and my readers. *looks innocent*
But what inspired me to write in the first place?
When I was young, I always had my nose in a book. First it was Ramona and Superfudge. Then I graduated to Star Wars and Star Trek novels I’d get at my favorite store, Waldenbooks. Remember that one? Ahhh…the memories. By the time I was ten, I had amassed a book collection that rivaled some adults, I’m sure. My mother always said she never minded spending money on books, a mantra that I have adopted all through life and continue on with my son. (Seriously, this kid has a library that would boggle your mind and he’s only eight.)
One day, I decided to go down the fantasy aisle at good ‘ol Waldenbooks and what did I stumble upon? A book series that would change my life, of course. I picked up a blue book with a young man, and old monk and an electrified greenish-yellow sword on the cover. Forging the Darksword became my instant favorite. I finished it in record time and ran (well, not literally–it was miles away) back to the mall to get the second in the series. Repeat again with the third. I couldn’t get enough. When I was finished with that series, I clamored for more from my new favorite authors, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I wasn’t disappointed with the selection. My next conquest would be The Deathgate Cycle, a seven-book series that captured my entire imagination–and then some. Then came all the Dragonlance novels, and all the incredible off-shoots that it spawned.
I’d like to thank Margaret and Tracy right now for being my ultimate inspiration for becoming a writer. Even if I didn’t know it at the time, reading their works forged a life-long love of writing. I’d like to think that, even if I wasn’t realizing it aright then and there, that all the while when I was writing fanfic, it was because of those fantastic books I had read as a teen and adult. I saw that I could become a successful writer and bring my ideas to life. No plotline was too fantastical. No character was too quirky, no monster too horrible.
When I decided that writing a novel was what I really wanted to do and put my mind to, my husband encouraged me with all his might. He even said I didn’t have to go back to work if I was going to really do this! (What a guy!) I told him once, as we were at the bookstore looking at the fantasy shelves that I hoped to be here one day, looking at my own book. I even pointed to the space, right next to Margaret Weis’ books, where I hoped mine would be some day. (Our last names are close alphabetically!) He smiled and said it would happen. Then our son farted and ruined the moment. (Thanks, kid.)
Reading brings out the best in you and your imagination. It allows you to leave the real world (and let’s face it, right now there’s a lot about it that SUCKS) and enter into a new realm where you can live vicariously through incredible characters and awe-inspiring stories. When you’re the author, you have control over your environment and, even if it’s just for a while, can leave reality and make the world how you want it to be. Characters do what you tell them, say what you want them to say.
I watch my son read some of my old fantasy novels, worn and tattered, and I see the wonder in his eyes. He finishes a chapter and immediately wants to discuss it. He hogs my computer so he can write his own works. He tells me he’s proud of me for trying to write a book.
Who knows, maybe something I create will inspire a nerdy teen out there someday to swallow their fear and go for it–just like I did.