Thank you, Nadia, for allowing me a spot on your blog. I’ve never been a guest blogger anywhere before, so hopefully I entertain rather than bore you all.
I decided to blog about a question I get asked frequently — where do you come up with your ideas? There are a million answers to that question, and each depends on the writer answering it. Instead, let’s look at the next step — research.
I love to research. I’m a nerd. I can admit that. Research is fun. I love libraries and looking through volumes no one has cracked open in years. It makes me feel like I’ve discovered something amazing, even if it is only from 1970.
Where do I find this stuff? Well, we’ve established that I’m a nerd. Therefore, I will happily spend hours watching History Channel, Discovery, and Travel Channel. (We won’t even get into my Food Network addiction). I also spent more hours than I care to count at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY as part of a requirement for my bachelor’s degree, once upon a time. GMU believed that riding a bus to NY for a day once a semester would somehow magically give all us art students more artistic ability. I don’t see it, but it was a cheap way to get to fun museums. I picked up many things there — here’s a fun tidbit for you: If you can, try to look at the back side of all those Greek and Roman cups and urns. A lot of the time, if they’re turned to the wall, its because there’s a dirty scene on the other side.
Important things you learn in college, right?
And that brings me to the other reason. I was an art/graphics major. I love art history, and there is so much art based on mythology and legend that it’s hard not to be exposed to those things. Eventually you remember some of it. I also minored in medieval/renaissance literature. We read some awesome works that I would never have been exposed to otherwise. I adored Havelock the Dane and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight! If you haven’t read them, do it!
Urban legends are always a great place to start. Pick one, any one. Doesn’t matter which it is, I can almost guarantee that if you look it up you will discover other areas of the country/world with similar stories, and you may even find that it is based in a true story, or a local mythology that is even more intriguing than what you started with.
For this book, I did some research into werewolves, obviously. Some of the mythology is my own. I never liked that silver stopped them. Probably because I’m partial to silver jewelry, and I always want my characters to wear it. But when you go back, silver has a really interesting history all its own. I wanted to make mine into something that both explained why it would be a deterrent and still give it a different and positive spin. In mine, it’s like…werewolf steroids. In the wrong hands it’s not a good idea, but with the right use, a terrific performance enhancer.
I also have a fondness for Celtic mythology and I wanted to incorporate it here. The Wild Hunt has always intrigued me, and while it only gets mentioned once in this story, it was the inspiration for Cern’s character. There’s more to, but I don’t want to bore you.
One last thought for you — I have always found that if you keep a notebook, journal, pack of cocktail napkins, etc. with you at all times, while your friends may tease you for it, you’ll be better off. I carry a million pens and my “idea journal” around all the time. I write things I overhear, I glue articles and photos, I paint in it, I draw in it, write lists and notes, and even write my favorite quotes down. I’ve never been able to keep up with writing a daily journal, but you’ll be surprised how easy this habit is to create, and the fantastic things it inspires.
Thank you so much, Nadia, for allowing me to ramble on your blog, and I hope you’ve all enjoyed the visit!
Ellen Keener lives in rural Virginia along the Chesapeake Bay, enjoys long walks on the beach discussing classic literature, and big drinks with little umbrellas. If you’d like to follow her thoughts on life, the universe and everything, you can do so at her blog.