INSPIRATION! Man-oh-man I lurve this subject! I never run out of inspiration – I constantly have more ideas swarming around inside my head than I can possibly write at one time. So this blog subject is, as a couple of my YA characters would say, easy-peasy!
Basically, I am inspired by life and by research. Okay, I’ll explain. We’ll start with research, because that’s where my career began. No. I don’t like “normal” research (as in plodding through info for papers or dissertations or other yawn-inducing stuff like that). I like research as a basis for fiction. Actually, how I came up with the idea for my first novel, GODDESS BY MISTAKE, which ended up being the basis for a (currently) 6-book series for LUNA, was through research. I knew I wanted to write a fantasy novel about a “normal” (a.k.a. – someone like me) modern woman who gets pulled into another world and acts like “we” (a.k.a. – someone like me) would. I planned to base my fantasy world on an ancient culture, or a mixture of several, so I started researching cultures I already knew a little about.
I was a Lit major in college, and I’m high school English teacher now, so I’m clued into the ancient Greeks and Romans – and I checked them out, refreshing my knowledge of their myths, focusing on the pre-Hellenistic, matriarchal versions, which I prefer. I’m of Welsh descent, so I also gravitated towards the Celts, too. And while I was researching I found this fantastic paragraph written by a priest about a ceremonial mating Celtic fertility ceremony he witnessed a thousand or so years ago which involved the ritualistic mating of a Clan Chieftain and a mare. He was appalled and totally freaked out. I was intrigued by it, as well as by the history of Celtic Pagans and Druids – so I ended up mixing all of that together, and sprinkling in some Greek and Roman mythos, and creating my own world called Partholon. It’s a world where centaurs are a noble race, and they co-exist with humans (sometimes not so peacefully), and they can even mate because of the Celtic Shamanistic belief in shapeshifters. Partholon’s main deity is Epona, horse goddess of the Celts, and it is a matriarchal society. Thus GODDESS BY MISTAKE, ELPHAME’S CHOICE, BRIGHID’S QUEST, DIVINE BY MISTAKE, DIVINE BY CHOICE, DIVINE BY BLOOD AND DIVINE BY DESTINY were born!
My Goddess Summoning Series for Berkley (the latest being GODDESS OF THE ROSE, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast) grew out of life inspiration. Several years ago the first 3 books in my Partholon series were tied up by the Draconian machinations of a horrid small press, so Berkley asked if I had anything else I was writing. I thought fast – used life and art and luck (and perhaps a hint of Goddess inspiration!). Several of my fabulous girlfriends and I have been known to get together the night of a full moon, partake of excellent food and too much wine, and then craziness might possibly ensue. There have been times when we’ve danced (to very loud Enya music) around a chimenea and burned prayer papers on which we’ve written our hearts’ desires. So…I brainstormed with my editor about a series based on women who somehow have their hearts’ desires heard by different goddesses, and then, after a romantic adventure, of course, those desires come true. My editor, Christine Zika, loved the concept and that’s how the Goddess Summoning Books were born. Some of them are retellings of old myths, i.e., GODDESS OF THE SEA is based on the Undine mermaid myth; GODDESS OF SPRING is a retelling of the Persephone/Hades myth; GODDESS OF THE ROSE is based on Beauty and the Beast. Some of them are my own creation: GODDESS OF LIGHT has Apollo and Artemis stranded in Vegas with no powers. GODDESS OF LOVE (coming June 07) is Venus coming to Tulsa and doing a make-over on a needy young woman, and in turn, the Goddess of Love finds out that her own life needs a different kind of a make-over. And I’m working on books 6 and 7 of that series!
Another example of life inspiration came from my amazing agent. She gave me three words: Vampire Finishing School. Out of that inspiration came the first 3 books of a YA paranormal series, THE HOUSE OF NIGHT, which I’m co-authoring with my 19 year old daughter. The first book, MARKED, will be available Spring 2007.
So…I think inspiration comes from research and life…and a little goddess-driven luck!