When I have been discussing my book(s) with people, the biggest question coming in is “How on earth did you come up with that idea?”
The answer is that I see little inspirations everywhere. Do you remember back to when you were a small child and every rainbow seemed magical? Every box had so many possibilities before you opened it? Every snail seemed to be on its way to somewhere and you tried to figure out where that somewhere was?
This is how I spend my day. Wondering where that somewhere is. Wondering who is going there. How are they getting there? Will they meet someone? Why are they going?
And so our story begins...
Once upon a morning, Ruth Amanda wakes up. She stretches, and says good morning to her husband Dave before getting ready for the day.
When she is dressed, she makes herself a bowl of Cheerios (Attention: General Mills, you can send the etransfer for my endorsement to email@example.com). Ruth Amanda has always preferred the Honey Nut Cheerios because they let her feel like she’s being a grown up and reducing her cholesterol while simultaneously feeding her inner child.
Ruth Amanda takes her bowl of cheerios out onto the patio where she is greeted by the usual breakfast crowd.
Oscar, the stray cat that hangs about, will rub against her leg and purr to request his kibble. Sometimes Squeak, another neighbourhood cat, joins in and they ask for the good stuff—wet cat food!
Phileas Fluff-feather, Skippy and other small finches will remind her to top up both birdfeeders because the grackles always hog the hanging feeder. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda, Diddit and Bob (these are the grackles of course) will commence their piercing whistles and strut about just out of reach of the cats.
Sometimes, when he is feeling brave, Stumpy the Gecko, or one of his other speedy little friends, will emerge to feast on the ants attracted to the cats’ leftovers.
A very patient Dave is also having his breakfast about this time, and doing adult things like checking the news feeds from the BBC or watching the stock market. He really is a lot of fun, but one of them has to be a grown up!
Ruth Amanda? She’s asking all the critters how they plan to spend the day. The unusual thing, or at least other adults find it unusual, is that the critters tend to answer her and fill her in on all their plans.
After breakfast, she gets ready to explore “ideas”. Ruth Amanda takes her notebook everywhere for jotting down ideas or scribbling fast sketches. She makes sure her cell phone is charged up ready for the inevitable photos. She grabs a hat to keep her nose from sun burning (it doesn’t stop the sunburn but at least she tried!).
Some days she takes her sketch pad out on the adventures and focuses on drawing one of the people she meets like Sebastien the Snail, or Sandy Beach the Crab, or one of the many monkeys at the wildlife reserve. While she draws them, they tell her stories and she remembers the stories to write down later or makes some notes in the notebook.
Off she goes through the garden, under the shrubberies, over the rocks and sometimes even down to the beach. She stops and chats with bugs, snails, birds and small children, and makes some notes. Sometimes it’s a title idea that she finds and sometimes it’s a whole story. She takes oodles of photographs.
Later, when she heads back to the house, she is full of stories and talks a very patient Dave’s ears right off his head! (Fortunately, they are easily reattached with sticky tape--Dave is more worried about the lasting effects of extensive “eye rolling”…)
She will find a quiet corner to chew on her pen and scribble more bits in her notebook or sit at the laptop and start typing out one of the ideas. If it’s a really good one, she forgets to stop and have supper so again, a very patient Dave comes to the rescue.
Evenings are for Dave so Ruth Amanda puts the stories away for the night. But sometimes, a very patient Dave lets his inner child out and they talk about one of her adventures and Dave helps her bang ideas around.
When they crawl into bed at night, and it gets very dark, Ruth Amanda listens to the whistling frogs, the cane toads, the crickets and the moon. Maybe they will be in their own story soon….
But for now, little ones, good night!