Where do you find the inspiration for your stories? Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes it’s in the obvious things, like stunning mountaintop vistas. And sometimes it’s found in little, seemingly inconsequential things, such as the spots on a kitten’s belly or the fingerprints on a dusty shelf.
A few years ago, I did a post about the various steps of inspiration that led to the creation of my historical work-in-progress The Deepest Breath. It was a ton of fun to put together, everyone seemed to enjoy it, and some of you even created your own “degrees of inspiration” posts (of which this and this were two of my favorites).
Today, I’d like to share the “15 degrees of inspiration” that breathed life into my fantasy novel Dreamlander (coming December 2).
1. Blame it on my brother.
|(Not my brother. And not me. But we were almost this cute . . . a long time ago.)|
Most of my story ideas are deeply personal and private. I brew on them for years before even mentioning them to others. But Dreamlander was my brother Derek’s idea. He spouted off the “what if” of people living a second existence while they sleep—and which they remember in this world only as dreams.
2. This all happened around the time The Lord of the Rings trilogy was coming out on film.
The gorgeous imagery couldn’t help but influence the world I was trying to create. (So, yes, clichéd though it is, I’m yet another fantasy author inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien.)
3. Another film that was rolling around in my head was the TV movie Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story.
I love the space/time gap between the real world and the beanstalk world.
4. What can I say? I love the classic fantasy critters.
6. and dragons all tried sooo hard to find a place in this story, before getting replaced with Katie originals.
7. Throw in a little moonlight.
It’s no secret I have a wild love affair with the moon. Late night walks under its light inspired more than one scene.
8. Early on in the drafting process, western Nebraska got dusted with a late spring snow.
That’s not unusual around here. But on that particular day, the new green grass shining against the untouched snow melded with the story and ended up creating some important imagery for the cataclysmic weather late in the book.
9. When I started the book, I was still hyped from all the medieval research I’d done for Behold the Dawn.
I fully intended to use the late 1100s as the inspiration for my fantasy world. But somehow (and, as it turned out, to my great delight) the early 17th century (think Three Musketeers) crept in instead, complete with rapiers and firearms.
10. I had a particular sound in mind for Dreamlander. I wanted the hard, driving rhythms of contemporary music paired with something ancient and Celtic.
Nightwish’s “Last of the Wilds” fit what I had in mind so perfectly it might almost have been written for the book.
11. Cranberry juice.
Can’t quite explain the connection. But I drank lots of cranberry juice while figuring out this story.
12. Where’s a girl to look for smart, brave, more-than-slightly-cynical hero inspiration?
13. Han Solo,
14. and James T. Kirk all had their share of impact on my Chris Redston.
15. Finally, one of my favorite aspects of the story—the skycar rail system—didn’t show up until the final rewrite.
I’m not sure where it came from—a bolt from the blue maybe?—but I suppose we have to blame it on the wonders of steampunk transportation in general.
Put all these ingredients together, add coffee and chocolate, shake vigorously, and—voila!—you have a 550-page epic fantasy novel with (in my opinion, at any rate) a lovely green cover.
For more fun, be sure to check out my new Pinterest board of images that inspired the costumes in Dreamlander. And don’t forget to vote for which prize you’d like to win in the Dreamlander Launch Party Grand Prize Drawing on December 2!