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We are writers mainly from Australia and New Zealand who write speculative fiction with romantic elements. Be it fantasy, paranormal, dark urban fantasy, futuristic and everything in between.

Thursday 12 August 2021

Magic Thursday: Where do you get your ideas from? with Keri Arthur

One of the most common questions writers get is, where do get your ideas from? My standard response is “I have a very weird imagination.” And while that is nothing but the truth, it’s also an oversimplification. 

We writers are also observers. We’re people watchers, conversation listeners. We read voraciously (when we have the time) and we watch TV and movies. Our stories come from life and living, from imagination and reality, from not only saying ‘what if’ but ‘why the hell did they do that?’

And sometimes, we have absolutely no idea where the story came from!

I tend to be a visual writer—I ‘see’ scenes as movies in my head—so most of my ideas have generally been sparked from something I’ve read, an image I’ve spotted, or (in one case) a Jason Bourne movie where my muse was going ‘why the hell is it always a male in these movies? Why the hell can’t a woman be a super-efficient killing machine?’. Of course, my muse being the weird bitch she is, the story warped from an assassin who couldn’t remember his past to a half breed sea dragon on the run from her past.

In the case of the Riley Jenson series, the spark was an article about cloning that mentioned the possibility of one day being able to clone dear old granny. How I got from there to a half breed wolf-vampire paranormal investigator is anyone’s guess, but I did get 9 books from it.

In the case of the Witch King’s Crown series, the spark was the cover. One of my favourite designers—J Caleb Designs—had the cover for what became Blackbird Rising up as a pre-made. I’d been wanting to write a modern day take on the King Arthur legend for a while, but for the life of me just couldn’t make anything stick. One look at that cover, and the whole damn world unfolded in front of me. I couldn’t get to his website fast enough to buy that thing! 

The same thing happened with Crown of Shadows, the novel I’m currently working on. This was a pre-made cover came from another of my favourite designers—Designs by Julie—and I took one look at it and my muse went ‘she’s a pixie. She hunts relics. She has a six-and-a-half-foot tall brother, and her mother is missing. Oh, and her father is a storm god.’  See, told you my muse was cracked. Lol.

Of course, a series can also evolve out of nothing more than a desire to write something ‘comfortable’. My Lizzie Grace series is that for me. I’ve always loved the werewolf genre, always loved crime, always loved setting my stories in modern Aussie settings. Slipping into her world is like pulling on a comfortable pair of slippers and then sitting in front of the TV to watch an action-packed movie. 

In the end, it doesn’t really matter where our ideas come from. The only thing that is important is our ability to catch the sparks and flame them into a novel!


Keri Arthur
, the author of the New York Times bestselling Riley Jenson Guardian series, has now written more than fifty novels. She’s won five Australian Romance Readers Awards for Favourite Scifi, Fantasy, or Futuristic Romance & has also won the Romance Writers of Australia RBY Award for Speculative Fiction. The Romantic Times also awarded her a Career Achievement Award for Urban Fantasy. Keri’s something of a wanna-be photographer, so when she’s not at her computer writing the next book, she can be found somewhere in the Australian countryside taking random photos.

You can find Keri at her website: keriarthur.com


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