Last month, after I sent out a newsletter asking what subscribers wanted to see in future ones, some responded they wanted to hear more about me and my writing process. A few wrote sample questions. The most repeated one was, where do you get your ideas?
I think this is probably the most asked question authors get from readers. One writer--I don't remember who--said they have a pat (sarcastic) answer.
Where do you get your ideas? Oh, I order them from the Idea Factory in Illinois. Ha-ha-ha. They say it with a straight face and hope the other person has a sense of humor. The thing is, this question doesn't have an easy answer. But since so many people are interested, I thought I'd give it a shot.
My ideas come from numerous places: movies that I think I know where they're going and find out it isn't how that writer wrote it, newspaper articles, songs, things friends say, books, etc.
The idea for Vampires Rule came to me when I was watching a vampire movie (horror movie, not Twilight), and I started thinking about the adjustments a person had to make when they got turned. Then I imagined what it would be like for a person who got changed back into a mortal. Could they return home to their family? Would the family accept them? Would their vampire friends let them go? Could the return to school and take up where they left off?
A lot of my ideas come from questions, strange questions that start going through my head when I'm bored.
The idea for Bait (the Order of the Spirit Realm series) came from how much I love the show Supernatural. It's the best thing on TV, in my opinion, and I've watched each episode at least fifteen times. The older episodes anyway.
I was thinking about the life of monster hunters and decided I'd like to do a Supernatural type book with a girl hunter as the MC. It seemed only natural to me to make her into a Van Helsing since he's the most famous hunter in history. I also had the idea for a rock star slash vampire slayer a long time ago. Nick Gallos (lead singer for Bad-Rock) was supposed to have his own series, but he fit in so well in this one.
And he was the perfect guy for Bay-Lee. His strengths make up for her weaknesses, and visa-versa. He says he fell in love with Bay-Lee when she threw him up against the wall and demanded he mentor her like he said he would. This is also when I fell in love with them as a couple.
My upcoming Dragon's Breath series comes from my love of Greek Mythology, dragons, and boys who dream of being superheroes.
The Witch-Game books happened because by the time I started shopping my vampire book around, Twilight was a big hit, and publishers repeatedly told me (and my agent) that the market was flooded with vampire books. So she and I decided that vampires and werewolves and ghosts were out. I needed something that hadn't been seen a million times.
Teen witches using their powers to play games at school seemed like the perfect solution. That idea came to me when I asked myself what I would have done at that age if I had powers. The answer? Use them to play games with my friends and influence boys. :)
Anyway, that is how I get my ideas. They come from different places, but one thing is always the same. It takes a long time for them to grow into fully realized material. Sometimes months. Sometimes years.