“How do you get your ideas?”
That’s the number one question I am asked by readers.
And the answer is simple: ideas come to me. I don’t go looking for them.
Writers have a different outlook to people who don’t write. Non-writers will look into the sky and see a pretty pink sunset. Writers look into the sky and see the blood shed by angels and demons fighting for supremacy. Non-writers will see a tree and think it’s a strange shape. Writers see the spirit inside trying to escape as a knot in the wood becomes a screaming mouth.
The premise for my RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy came to me on a bus. I was reading a Sherlock Holmes novel. I had just finished writing a draft ms about time-travelling devils and I was exhausted. I wanted a break from writing. But as I sat there, reading about Doctor Watson, I thought of another book that I had finished reading a couple of months earlier. It was a collection of tales about King Arthur and it had ended with an epilogue in which a shepherd had stumbled across a tomb of knights, hundreds of years after the final Battle of Camlann. They were waiting for Arthur to return.
Out of nowhere I thought: what if a teenage girl was to stumble across that tomb?
I went back to reading my Sherlock novel, turned the page and there was a reference to King Arthur in the very next paragraph!
Well, if that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what is. I went home and wrote the first chapter of what became SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR.
One book became a trilogy. I had word vomit! An entire new world just came into my life filled with strong female characters and hot knights and dragons and magic. I found myself researching every King Arthur myth I could get my hands on. I turned down agency representation and decided to go it alone with publication, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Nearly three years later, my series has been listed as a Top 20 YA Read on Goodreads with a 100% like rating. Word of mouth and online recommendations mean more and more readers are coming to the Camelot party on a daily basis. I freaked out when SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR debuted in the top fifty Myths and Legends chart on Amazon. Then THE FIRE OF MERLIN went thirty places higher!
My squeeeeeeeee went viral!
The final ebook in the series, THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE, will be released in May 2013. To celebrate, SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR and book number two, THE FIRE OF MERLIN, are on a Fabulous February special offer on Amazon for only $1.99.
It’s hard work, but totally worth it. And all because a voice inside my head asked a question: what if...?
So don’t shut those ideas out. Even a snatch of a question could turn into something huge. Carry a notebook around with you and just scribble down words. You never know where the adventure will take you, but if you’re a writer, then look at the sky, look at that tree and just imagine.
Thank you, Donna. If I had a pound for every time someone has asked me where I get my ideas from, I'd be rich. But despite it being one of those questions writers are always asked, I must admit I love hearing the answer. Thank you for sharing how The Return to Camelot Trilogy came into existence with us. Truly fascinating.