Friday, May 6, 2011
When I say I am a writer, I am often asked where I get the ideas for what I write. As with most writers (I think) my ideas come from everywhere. Most of mine come when I'm not trying- when I'm in bed or walking the dogs. I got my idea for An Unexpected Kingdom after spending a weekend with my then 14 year old cousin Annie. Like Ava, she lives in a nice New Jersey suburb, and as I was driving back to Boston I starting thinking about how she would react if she found out she was really a princess and not a Dolan at all. From that silly thought came the whole outline of Ava's story. I started writing when I got home. The idea for The Guardians of Ben Q. Flanders came while I was walking my dogs after re-reading the entire Percy Jackson & The Olympians series last week. I thought what if some poor kid who loved these kinds of stories ends up in the middle of one, but without any of the cool stuff happening to him- he doesn't get any powers or find out he is a wizard or a demigod or part of a secret society. For me it is about the characters. The protagonist usually forms in my mind immediately and then the story sort of falls in around him or her. That part I think is different for everyone. Stephenie Meyer has often recounted that Twilight came out of a dream she had (which was of the scene of Bella and Edward in the meadow) and J.K. Rowling saw a building that she thought looked like it could be a school for wizards, which worked out pretty well for her in the end.