Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Where do ideas come from?

"Where do your ideas come from?" is the most frequent question I'm asked as a writer. And it's the most difficult question to answer. Because ideas are all around us and come to us in the strangest ways.

For example after seeing a movie my husband and I changed our usual evening neighborhood walk to one through the mall. And while strolling through a toy store, we saw a stuffed owl. And I wanted it. It was cool. Built like a puppet, I could turn his head and flap his wings or open and close his eyes. Now I had no use at all for an owl--but hey, if I included him in my book and used him in a video of the book he'd become a legitimate tax deduction. So my High Priestess suddenly had a pet owl named Merlin. And of course Merlin wasn't any pet owl, he had special abilities, abilities which developed from book to book during the Pendragon Legacy series. (LUCAN will be out in September and excerpts are at

But I digress. Another example is that during my research I come across all kinds of interesting facts. For example, while King Arthur's castle may have been unearthed in England, legend has it that before Arthur died he left the Holy Grail in Avalon. Now, no archeologist has ever found Avalon--a city reputed to have receded into the mists. But what if no one has ever found Avalon because it's not on Earth?

Newspaper headlines are also great fodder for ideas. One that stuck in my mind was that male fertility worldwide is down 30%. That's huge! What if the trend continued? What if male fertility continues to rise? What if we had to find the Holy Grail to save mankind from extinction?

These questions were the basis for my new series. So the ideas came from a stuffed owl, a newspaper headline and an ancient legend. Hmmm. If I tell people the truth, it sounds a bit strange . . . but then I've always liked the unusual.


  1. Interesting idea about Avalon not being on Earth. In Marion Zimmer Bradley's MISTS OF AVALON, the isle of Avalon gradually moves away from the fields we know (in Dunsany's phrase), so that by the end of the novel Avalon and Glastonbury occupy the same space but in two different dimensions. In Angela Knight's unique vampire series, Camelot is a stronghold in another dimension, with vampires as knights and witches as the ladies of the court.

  2. Margaret,
    It's amazing how many ways writers can twist a legend. :)