For a bit of a change I’ve invited Darlene Foster to do a guest post on my blog, and she graciously accepted my invitation. Darlene and I were both contributors to The Country Roads Anthology (Nimbus Publishing) and became acquainted through facebook. In my opinion, the friendships I have formed with some of the contributors has been one of the greatest things to come out of this anthology. I hope most of them would also agree.
Where does a writer get ideas?
It’s hard to say where the germ of an idea for a book comes from, but I like to think for me, it started way back when I was a kid growing up on a ranch in southern Alberta. I was bored and lonely and would dream of visiting amazing places I read about in books and learned about at school. I would often day-dream I was travelling the world and having amazing adventures. Many years later, when I had the opportunity to visit a friend working in the United Arab Emirates, I jumped at the chance. I had such a good time I felt compelled to share it with the world. I started to write a nonfiction account of my trip but it didn’t quite capture what I felt and experienced. During my visit, I remembered my friend commenting that my excitement reminded her of a twelve-year old. So, I started to write from the point of view of a twelve-year old. Then I decided it needed some adventure and Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask slowly took shape.
A few years later my in-laws retired from England to Spain which gave good reason to visit and explore that country. I found it also quite amazing so decided my young heroine should have an adventure there as well. From that experience, Amanda in Spain-The Girl in The Painting was born. I collected materiel over three visits. Writing the second book gave me a chance to develop the characters and the friendship of Amanda and Leah, while describing the locations and points of interest.
Followers of the Amanda books kept asking, “Where will Amanda go next?” That told me I had to keep going. I had been to visit England a number of times since that’s my husband’s home country, so it made sense that Amanda would go there next. Right now I am having a lot of fun writing Amanda in England-The Missing Novel as I now know my characters quite well. I have introduced some interesting extras including a big old Maine Coon cat named Rupert, who lives in a book store.
Where will Amanda go after England? I haven’t decided yet, but one thing is for certain, Amanda doesn’t get to go anywhere I haven’t been! This may be motivation to visit another cool place on this amazing planet we live on.
So from dreams of travelling all those years ago, to having the opportunity to travel as an adult, some stories have been generated for other kids who may dream of travelling to intriguing places or just want to learn more about them from the vantage point of a twelve-year old.
Where did the idea for your first book come from?