I’ve never done a guest post before. Is that kind of like being a guest speaker, where you get bottles of water and an honorarium? What, no honorarium? Drat. Water bottles, at least? Oh, thank you, Baby Groot. [Takes a sip] So how do we go about this?
<I AM GROOT.>
You’ll ask me some questions, and I’ll waffle on from there? Sure, no problem. Let’s do this thing. [Squares shoulders, makes an intelligent face.] Go.
<I AM GROOT.>
Yes, thank you, I’m very glad to be here, too, and to get this chance to talk to your esteemed audience. So what would you like to ask me?
Where do I get the ideas for my writing? Ah yes, that’s a question Us Writers get asked a lot. [Takes on faintly supercilious facial expression, then wipes it off again when she realises that she’s actually not been asked that very often herself.] Okay, let me rephrase that: It’s a good question. A while back I was talking to a lovely young lady who is an avid reader and a gamer, and she was asking just that. She said she would like to be able to write, but while she absolutely loves making up worlds, she can’t think of plots or characters, of what happens in those worlds. And that’s, after all, what a story is all about, isn’t it?
Well, here’s what I told her: a good story starts with “What if…?” What if there was a race of small people with woolly feet, and one of them got a dangerous magic ring…? What if there was a whole world of wizards living right alongside all of us, and one of them was a young orphan boy with a lightning-bolt-shaped scar on his forehead? What if… And so in the case of my friend, I suggested she think of what if a person just like herself (no need to invent a character) was living in one of those fantasy worlds she’s made up – how would she react, what would happen to her? (We ended up brainstorming, and came up with quite an intriguing story idea of a commonsensical young woman who goes on a quest with an รผber-heroic princeling who keeps charging into adventure at the drop of a hat, with the girl always having to keep him on track and rolling her eyes at his overblown heroics… I hope she writes that story; I’d love to read it.)
As a matter of fact, that’s exactly how I started the first book of my series, Seventh Son. Have you ever noticed that in all those time or dimension travel stories, the characters barely blink their eyes at what just happened to them? The kids in Narnia climb through the wardrobe, and just go “We’re in a different world? Whee, how exciting! Let’s go have some adventures!” Well, I got to thinking: what if that happened to me? What if I got sucked off into some magic world, how would I react? I’d freak out, that’s what I’d do. And so that’s just what my protagonist, Catriona, does. She looks into a blue pottery bowl in a museum, and all of a sudden she’s landed in the middle of a forest in a magical medieval world. Some hours later, she’s stuck in a cottage with an injured, unconscious man and a small child, and she just has to cope… Again, what would I do in that situation? My head would go in circles, that’s what, and I’d be thinking things like “Where do you go to the bathroom, and what on earth do you use for toilet paper here?” and “How do you light a candle when you haven’t got matches or a lighter?” For some reason, fictional characters never seem to consider these things in the books I’ve read – but I sure would, so that’s what sparked my story. (If you want the answers to those questions, you’ll have to read my books. You can get them here.)
<I AM GROOT!>
Why, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed Seventh Son. Of course, there is a quite important tree in that story, too, so you would be able to relate.
<I AM GROOT.>
Yes, I really enjoyed our little chat, myself. And thank you, and Kate, for giving me this chance to talk to your lovely readers. Do, folks, stop on by our place, amo vitam (www.amovitam.ca); Steve the Bear and I would love to see you.
<I AM GROOT!>
Quite. I’ll sign off with my standard signature line: Life, the Universe, and … well, and A Guest Post. What if… What if there was a little Groot Tree in a pot, and a small stuffed bear named Steve, and one day they… [Wanders off in a trance, lost in a world of story possibilities, forgetting her water bottle…]