I’m so thrilled to be joining GHB, and can’t wait to chat to you all. As it’s still New Year and new inspiration is on all our minds, I thought I’d begin by telling you a bit about me, and more importantly about what inspires my writing. I guess I’m a little bit unusual as an author, because I’ve been writing books for all ages from two to teen for the last twenty years (yes, I’m THAT old!). I love the variety of it, because it means that if I’m stuck on one book, I can reboot my imagination and swap over to another one. That does have one tiny problem, though, because it means that I have LOTS of differently-aged voices all squeaking away in my head. (Yes, it’s true. Those crazy authors have IMAGINARY VOICES in their brains!) That could mean anything from a pirate to a bear to a dragon girl. Currently I have a teenage Egyptian queen, a demi-god healer boy and a whole lot of immortal beasts talking to me, as well as a detective called Shazzam and his pet brontosaurus.
But what about that writing inspiration I mentioned? Well, apart from the picture books, most of my inspiration is sparked off by some sort of myth or legend. Nowadays, mostly it’ll be only a fragment of one I want to explore, or I’ll have a lightbulb ‘what if’ moment. I’ve been fascinated by the Greek myths in particular since I was very young. The two myth books which started it all off for me belonged to my great-granny, and I quickly realised from reading them that it was quite possible to tell the same story in very different ways. It was the moment I decided I wanted to be a writer. Zeus, Hera and Co. have walked through my writing life ever since. At first they inspired me to do my own retellings, and then, a couple of years ago I started wondering what it would be like to write my own stories about them. That’s where my brand-new, just-published (hooray!) Beasts of Olympus series started. I asked myself a ‘what if’ question about whether Heracles was quite such a hero as he’s made out to be – and what the consequences were for all the animals he ‘killed’ down on Earth (immortal animals don’t really die, of course – at least not in my books!).
It’s not just the Greek myths that inspire me though – I’m a bit of a world myth geek, really, and my latest passion is the Egyptian gods, who I’m exploring within my upcoming YA novel, Cleo (out next May). They’re definitely a scarier lot to look at, as most have animal or bird heads, and there are a LOT of them to get my head round! You’ll be hearing more about them and what they get up to soon!
I’d love to know what inspires you in your reading or writing. What sparks your imaginations off? Do tell!