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Working for the Lightening Strike: Inspiration
Not long ago, I looked out my kitchen window and saw a flock of crows in my backyard. It’s a familiar site. They come often and always make me think of death. You know, harbingers and all that. But on that particular day they became the inspiration for the book I’m currently writing, igniting an idea that didn’t exist before they decided to creep me out by littering my lawn with their huge, black-feathered bodies.
Inspiration is a funny thing. When it hits it needs to come out. Even if, like me, it takes eight years to decode the muse’s message twisting through your mind. I was living in Boston finishing up my capstone internship in grad school and trying to find a job in my chosen profession when the idea for Fractured Dream first came to me. Even though I was completing my master’s degree in journalism, I knew that it wasn’t my end game. I wanted to be a fantasy writer. But no specific idea had ever stuck.
That summer, however, a seed was planted. Perhaps it was the writerley environment: an old house, culturally diverse roommates, an internship at a nonprofit magazine where I was the only writer among a group of anthropology majors, and my bed—a single, stained mattress on the floor, broken springs poking into my back for four months. Add the life affirming energy of summer and the musical liveliness of Harvard Square, and a long journey was begun.
Fantasy is my genre, and the idea of an alternate, magical world existing beside our own had long-fascinated the believer within me. I wanted to create something big and beautiful. So with a few jotted notes in my leather-bound journal, I stumbled along. That is until one night when I was reading The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, I paused to contemplate the concept of jumping through time as the main character unintentionally does in the book. And as I did so, my mind began to wander, picturing a girl who didn’t time travel, but instead existed between two worlds almost simultaneously. Thus, my main character, Story Sparks, was born. (The name didn’t come until much later.)
Although The Time Traveler’s Wife and my book are worlds a part, inspiration is often about the almost audible click of ideas merging, no matter how divergent their original paths, and that’s how inspiration first walked into my life. It came back in various forms, sometimes in dreams, most times through the pure act of writing. But it took me a long time to piece together this world I wanted to create, a place where well-known mythical creatures, Fae races and fairytale characters with a twist, exist side by side.
The whole tale unraveled only as I wrote it. Sometimes I’d have to stop and hash it out with the storyteller within me when fresh ideas came to play as I neared the book’s end, requiring me to go back through and incorporate new elements. At the end of it, I found I had actually written a book. And all it took was one little initial spark for my imagination to take flight and close to a decade to become the writer I needed to be to finish it.
For me, it’s always been about making connections between reality and the fantastical. The second time around, it won’t take me eight years. Inspiration has decided to stay. As Pablo Picasso once said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
Check out K.M. Randall’s book, Fractured Dream, pre-order it now!
Have you ever wondered where fairytales go once they’re created?
It’s been eight years since Story Sparks last had a dream. Now they’re back, tormenting her as nightmares she can’t remember upon waking. The black waters of Lake Sandeen, where her Uncle Peter disappeared decades before, may hold the secret to Story’s hidden memories, or a truth she’d rather not know. On a bright summer afternoon, Story and her two best friends, Elliott and Adam, take a hike to the lake, where they dive into the cool water and never reemerge. What they find is beyond anything they’ve ever imagined could be possible, a world where dangers lurk in the form of Big Bad Wolves, living Nightmares and meddlesome witches and gods.
Now Story must remember who she really is and somehow stop two worlds from ultimate annihilation, all while trying not to be too distracted by the inexplicable pull she feels toward a certain dark-eyed traveler who seems to have secrets of his own. The fates of the worlds are counting on her.