Originally Posted by rune
2. Where do you get your inspiration from to write books. And where did you get your ideas from for your new series?
My initial inspiration was boredom - not a great source, I admit. I was bored whilst on detachment in the Falkland Islands and I became very irritible. My navigator uttered the immortal words "For goodness sake do something useful! Go write a book or something."
The initial story was born out of a conglomeration of ideas from different fantasy stories I had read over the years, combined with my own knowledge of the military and various other related skills. I was influenced a lot by Tolkien, Eddings, McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon. Less so by Gemmell, Julian May and a host of others. The Darkweaver Legacy is very much a fantasy in the tradition established by Tolkien, but my new series, despite being set in the same world, is definitely not.
Inspiration to write comes from everywhere when you are in the habit of writing. Conversations, television, walks in the countryside, reading other books all contribute to ideas and the urge to commit pen to paper. My biggest single inspiration to sit at my laptop is the feedback from readers who have enjoyed my work and taken the time to tell me. Happily this happens on an almost daily basis now, so I'm not lacking in motivation.
The idea for my new series was generated by two things:
1 - A challenge by a feisty born-again christian lady in a bookshop where I was signing. She asked me why all these fantasy books had to focus on magic and magicians? I patiently explained to her the attraction that people felt to stories with this theme was not because they were all devil-worshippers, but she was clearly very anti the whole idea of magic in stories. It was interesting to note (I'm a bit mean sometimes) that when I asked her what she thought of CS Lewis's Narnia series, she thought this was fine because it had been written by a Christian and was an allegorical story. Pointing out that there was magic in this story didn't go down well - one of my less tactful moments! It's still fantasy in my book, and a darned good one too. However, the whole conversation, whilst awkward, did get me thinking about how one would go about writing a fantasy with no magic.
2 - The huge recent success of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz demonstrated the demand for spy stories amongst adolescent boys. I saw the potential to draw in an audience of young people who like spy stories whilst keeping my fantasy readers. It made a lot of sense. I also had a ready made heroine in Femke, who had been a favourite minor character from my first series.