Kim Harrison, who is the author of "The Undead Pool", shares with us her inspirations.
Next time you’re at a writer conference and you’re lucky enough to be included in a group of imaginative, quick-thinking writer types, listen, because at some point, an aspiring writer is going to turn to their hero and, with stars in their eyes, lovingly ask, “Where do you get your inspiration from!”
Then watch as horror, or perhaps dismay, runs across said author’s eyes.
Truly, this is a compliment, an affirmation that the world and characters we’ve created have become so real that it seems impossible that there isn't one tiny chunk of inspiration that we can point to and say, “There! That thing!” And in a lot of cases, that’s true. Music, TV, coffee commercials, popular fiction, a man on a bus; I’ve heard from other authors who can clearly pinpoint the exact moment and source of an idea they turn into inspiration.
Me? Not so much. At least, not until I can look back in hindsight.
The evolution of inspiration has always been a mystery to me, but here at the end of the Hollows series, I can clearly point and say the motivation behind the beginning of the Hollows was desperation, pure and simple, and you can see it in general oddness of the first chapter of Dead Witch Walking. I was trying to attract editor and agent attention at a time when it seemed only sexually explicit and just downright weird stuff was making print in the SF/fantasy short story market. So a witch, a vampire, and a pixy walk into a bar. My kind of weird.
But the story progressed, and what began as desperation eventually calmed into the realization that I could slow down and tell my story as I wanted. Inspiration began to leak into the pages from what I was seeing around me and dealing with every day.
Ten years ago, GMO produce wasn’t the big headliner that it is now, but I didn’t like that monarch butterflies were dying from corn pollen, and so a GMO tomato was behind a world-changing plague. My awareness of bullies, not just on the school ground, but at the office as well, surfaced as militant Weres bent on domination. Same-sex couples inspired a long-running thread of Ivy and Rachel’s almost-relationship torn apart by overwhelming emotional baggage. Addiction and spousal abuse figured into my vampires at a time when much of the popular fiction made the vampire something to admire. Terrorism threats on the street became a violent human group bent on genocide of other non-human species. And finally, the idea that friendship, trust, and determination can surmount all of the above and make for happy endings trumps them all—at least for those who survive.
So where does inspiration come from? Everywhere and anything. The storyteller knows.