IDOLS Blog Tour & Giveaway: How I Get My Writing Inspiration by Margaret Stohl
Posted 07/07/2014 by alicemarvels in Author Guest Post
How I Get My Writing Inspiration
by Margaret Stohl
My family comes in all shades of nerd. I have caught my oldest daughter staying up until 3am on a school night to finish her paper mache cosplay helmet. My youngest has constructed three different sets of clay horns for her #homestuck fandom. My middle kid is spending all summer up to her shoulders in dirt digging for ancient Roman coins & teeth & sherds in Italy. I just came from Nationals and will soon head to Worlds for the Pokemon Trading Card Game this summer, where 2/5 of my family competes. We binge watch X-files, Doctor Who, Star Trek, BSG, Buffy and all things Marvel. Living in a house full of such passionate personalities is inspiring, everyday. They introduce me to new subcultures, technologies, genres, people, and events that change the way I think and find their way into my writing. My #nerdfamily and our #nerdworld inspire the kinds of characters I want to write — interested, engaged, offbeat, and happy to be themselves.
I have the most extreme case of wanderlust you will ever encounter. Airports are like my second home. In the last year I’ve wandered extensively through my own country, as well as the Philippines, Tokyo, Kyoto, Taipei, Prague, Budapest, Krakow, Rome, and throughout southern Italy. I travel because I am a thief, and I steal everything I see and hear and taste and smell and put it into my books. Sometimes I just sit in a café with a sketchbook and fill it with descriptions of the people who pass by, the way a visual artist might sketch them. Just as the Southern US became a setting in the Beautiful Creatures books, so did my own city, Los Angeles, become a key part of my futuristic Sci Fi thriller, Icons. I wrote the sequel, Idols, in a jungle near Chiang Mai, Thailand. My office was an open pavilion in the middle of immense teak trees, and because of jetlag I wrote in the darkness to the sounds of terrifying jungle noises. I spent the days visiting mountaintop temples and giving elephants baths—and all of that became central to the Idols story.
I was the head of the Susan Cooper fan club in third grade. We met under the stairs and recited the poem from the front of the Dark is Rising. I have been waiting in a closet for Aslan to come rescue me for most of my life. Diana Wynn Jones was my personal hero. Everything I have ever read is as real to me as the places I have seen or the people I have encountered, and I’m as grateful to the books that grew me up as I am to my parents and family and friends and the other people who raised me.