*SPOILER ALERT* - It's not big, but it's there.
How does anyone get an idea?
I have no idea.
Really. And when it comes to my own, I can't remember.
According to a variety of personality and preference tests, I am a problem solver - a solution giver - the idea guru if you will. I come up with ideas the way a factory makes widgets. Granted, sometimes there is a problem with the machinery. Sometimes something doesn't get stamped correctly and it has to be melted down and remade. Other times it's the epitome of widgets. And I live for their creation. I do.
I'll be honest. The idea for the Grechs did in fact come from a set of three brothers who DO exist. But the Grechs are nothing like them, except they're beautiful and talented each in their own way. And Greek. Those boys are Greek. That idea was the beginning of the story. Originally I thought it was going to be their story, but it became something else entirely.
Khloe is, in many ways, me. But she's also very much not. They say that every character in a given book is a reflection of an author, and that is definitely true. I can't deny that. Khloe's outfit in the first chapter is based off an outfit I did wear in high school. And I did love those red pants. That's probably why I wrote them in. They were fantastic.
And anyone who went to Albany High School will recognize things about the high school Khloe attends. It is loosely based on that school - because when I was there, it was awesome. All of these things are true. But there are many other things that I came up with from other parts in my life. For example, the jazz band Khloe sings with is based on an experience I had in college. The costume shop is a combination of consignment and vintage clothing stores I've frequented over the years. The list goes on...
In the second book, Lovers and Rivals, I used my knowledge of British castles and continental palaces to create many of the spaces. Kolmarden is the tree house I always wanted. I've always loved the forest. For me the woods are a place of wonder and magic. It only makes sense that the perfect man for Khloe would live in the woods.
And speaking of Laran... Laran is the best parts of a punk drummer I once knew, and the gentleman every woman wishes was hers. He's a little dark for the average girl, and snarky like every perfect man should be. And no, I have never met a live human who could act the part. I imagine there are a few animators from Japan who could capture him perfectly however...
The characters and places in book 3, Lilith and Ammon, you have yet to meet. Frankly, I want to save describing them specifically for the completion of that project. However, I will say most of the people and places in this particular book are drawn from mythology. The way I treat a number of creation stories/myths could be described as irreverent. The story is a development of ideas that were glossed over in books 1 and 2. This is the forgotten history of Lilith and Ammon, and therefore Khloe and Laran (if this is confusing, read books 1 and 2).
I have a plan for book 4, and no, I have no idea what the title of that book will be. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.
Needless to say, from my characters to the premise of the story, to the development of the series generally, it's clear that ideas come from a lot of different places. They develop and change over the course of a writing project, no matter the writer. That's part of what it means to be a problem solver/solution giver. It's the pleasure and the pain of being an idea guru.