As an author, where do you find inspiration? This single query has been asked of me more than any other. It is a simple question, and yet it is one of the most difficult for me to answer because my work has so many influences ranging from literature to life experience.
I can always say that books inspire me. After all, Lauraisha, one of my major characters in Skinshifter, was partly inspired by the character Menolly from Anne McCaffrey’s book Dragonsong. Likewise my Thorn and Thistle character Ebenezer is a bit of a nod to the crotchety old wizard Carolinus from Gordon R. Dickson’s Dragon and the George series.
Certainly, different forms of media and art are more powerful influences. In fact, my first published short story “Sumari’s Solitude” was originally inspired by a painting entitled “Spirits of Hathor” by Debbie Hughes, which graced the cover of the Ruins Metropolis anthology where “Sumari’s Solitude” first appeared. Similarly, the setting idea for my short story “Paper Castles” came from a springtime photograph of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. when it was awash with pale pink cherry blossoms.
Of course, music is essential to my writing. Hans Zimmer’s piece “Woad to Ruin” from the King Author movie soundtrack essentially represents the first two chapters of Skinshifter condensed into eleven minutes. Harry Gregson-Williams’s piece “Kayla” from the X-men Origins: Wolverine movie soundtrack reminds me of so many emotional aspects of my dryad characters Zahra, Ella, and Zana. I’ve also discovered several of Jeremy Soule’s songs from Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Elder Scrolls V: Oblivion which help me punch up my fight scenes.
However, as incredible as literature, art, and media are, people easily outmatch all of them as my primary inspirations. No matter how strange my worlds are or how fantastical their creatures may be, I always write my stories and their characters with some essential aspect of humanity in mind. Of course, it didn’t begin that way.
When I began Skinshifter, I wrote the book with the idea that I would create an action/adventure story set in a fantasy world populated with lots of unusual creatures. However, with the sudden death of my grandmother in 2005, my perception of the book changed. I saw in Katja’s story a tale about losing love and finding hope in the midst of grief. That idea really tugged on my heart and I felt such a tale was the one people most needed to read from me. Consequently, Skinshifter, The Dryad’s Sacrifice, and Thorn & Thistle are all stories dealing with love, loss, and hope in some way. These are fiction themes with roots that stretch deep into my own life. That, to me, is the real beauty of fiction—using a work of make-believe to convey some genuine truth. I would never know such incredible insight without my loved-ones and me cheering each other on through every dream and heartache.
Skinshifter is on sale for a limited time for only 99 cents for Kindle (regularly $3.99). The Dryad’s Sacrifice, a Sylvan Prelude is also only 99 cents for kindle (regularly $2.99). And Thorn and Thistle (Tempest Maiden Book 1) is also on sale for a limited time for only 99 cents for Kindle (regularly $2.99).
a Rafflecopter giveaway