I was asked to write a featured blog post in the upcoming Space Coast Book Lovers newsletter. If you haven't had a chance to attend yet, I highly recommend it! I'll be one of the attending authors this June.
I'm often asked how I come up with my story ideas or my fantasy worlds. The answer is pretty simple: I find inspiration in everything!
I love all things fantasy -- books, games, movies, even music. One of the first fantasy books I read as a teenager was the Magician series by Raymond Feist. It was my sister, Tracy, who first introduced me to these books. (If you've stopped at my table at SCBL, you've probably met her. She's as much of a book addict as I am.)
I fell in love with the world Feist created and couldn't get enough of the series. After that, I moved on to another series he co-wrote with Janny Wurts (Daughter of the Empire). There was a touch of romance in that series, and I realized... that's what was missing from a lot of the other fantasy books I'd read. I wanted that combination of romance and magic, because you can't have one without the other. That's what started my love for romantic fantasy.
I draw a lot of inspiration from games too. I've been a hardcore gamer geek since I was a kid. Ultima, Everquest, World of Warcraft, Skyrim, Dragon Age... they all captured my imagination. (We won't talk about the really bad Ultima fanfic I used to write. hehehe)
I loved exploring the lore from each of the different races, their belief systems, even the different languages or accents the creators incorporated into these games. All of it captured my imagination.
In my daily life, I still try to incorporate magic into my surroundings. My house is full of fairies, dragons, and other things that inspire me. I love reading about folklore and mythology, and often collect books that help inspire my stories.
I also try to write in places that fuel that inspiration. There's nothing like sitting in a gazebo in the middle of a fairy garden and drinking tea while writing a scene with dragons, fairies, and other magical creatures.
Whenever I travel, I love learning about the history of places and often create alternative twists that I incorporate into my stories.
With the current book I'm working on (Dance of Wings), I used a recent trip to Greece as inspiration for the Sky Cities, the home of the dragons. When I visited the Acropolis in Athens, I couldn't help but think -- this would be a great place for a dragon to hang out. I could see everything for miles. Marble doesn't melt/burn as easily as wooden structures, and if any dragon kids get unruly, their parents could always toss them in the Mediterranean to cool off.
With magic, anything is possible. I'd love to know what inspires you!