Guest post by Joleene Naylor
“Where did the idea for your book come from?” That’s one of the most common author interview questions, and it’s one that I find the hardest to answer. Where do the ideas come from? They come from a multitude of places, all mashed together and percolated into a mushy mess.
For instance in my latest book, Heart of the Raven, there are at least ten places I could site as inspiration for nearly everything. For example, the newest character to join my vampire troupe is Maeko, a fourteen year old vampire girl who carries around dolls dressed in outfits identical to her own. She is accompanied/attended by two male servants who are in their late twenties, and a teen boy she’s waiting to turn when he is “old enough”.
So where did the inspiration for Maeko come from? I have a “japan fetish”, if you will, so I knew I wanted my characters to eventually go to Japan. Maeko’s history is a mixture of necessity (to give them a reason to be there) formed around a framework of real history I ran into accidentally in a documentary I saw on Netflix. (I then had to do more research, but that’s beside the point.) And drizzled with the frosting of a tidbit I ran into on the web that stated how new vampire mythology was to their culture.
What about the dolls? When I was initially touring the web looking for information on Japan – the everyday kind of things you’d know if you were actually there – I found a cool website run by a guy who takes a lot of pictures of his two pose-able fashion dolls. I thought “wouldn’t that be fun to have Maeko carry dolls around all the time? She could dress them like herself and treat them as though they were real people. Fun and creepy, all at the same time!” (The use of dolls in a creepy contrast is inspired by old VC Andrews novels).
What about Maeko’s attendants? The thought is round about based on Haji from the anime Blood +. Haji is this lovely man who is the long suffering and completely devoted servant to what is essentially a vampire girl. (It’s more complicated than that, but it will do for this explanation) and I thought “Maeko needs a Haji!” This led to the question of just how close was she to her attendants and so, based on a combination of Claudia from Interview with a Vampire and other similar things, I decided that even if Maeko was fourteen on the outside, she was really a couple hundred years old, so her relationship with her attendants might be a little more risqué.
I could go on and talk about her house, or her clothes, or the clan she’s part of, but I think you see what I mean. I’ve always believed that if you worry about the little things, the big things will take care of themselves, and with that method there are so many little inspirations that work together to create the whole, that I find “what inspired you?” to be impossible to answer, except by saying, “Everything.”
So, what inspired my latest book?
Oh, and anime.
Joleene is the author of 'Heart of the Raven', the latest book in her Amaranthine series:
A myth with the power to destroy the world…
Katelina has barely recovered from the chaos of Malick’s revolt, yet she and Jorick must go to Munich to testify before the True Council. All hopes of a vacation are dashed when they ‘re assigned an entourage that includes Verchiel, a vampire Katelina never wants to see again.
Her hatred is forgotten when Malick and his henchmen penetrate the stronghold in Munich. Jorick hijacks the trip and diverts them on a quest to reclaim the Heart of the Raven. Said to be the disembodied heart of Lilith, the relic may be more reality than myth, and if it falls into the wrong hands it could have disastrous consequences for the world. Can they reach its hiding place before Malick?
The fifth installment of the Amaranthine series sees Jorick and Katelina draw closer as they surround themselves with their own miniature army and try to outwit the machinations of the ancient master. Katelina grows stronger and learns to stand on her own because there’s no room for the fainthearted in a world where darkness is eternal and the night tastes like blood.
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