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Where do you get your ideas?

Clever readers of the Christmas story that I offered — HERE — figured out that part of the theme was, “Where do ideas come from?” In the case of “Queen Abigail and the Bright Idea Cookies,” I’m sort of hinting that they might come from other good ideas, or from inspiration, or from cooperation … or maybe even from cookies that aren’t quite made according to the recipe.

I don’t know where all that came from, but then, that was the point. Where DO ideas come from? At the time that thoughts for Queen Abigail the Wise began to percolate around, I had never written a book, and I had never thought very seriously about doing so. I hadn’t really considered how it all started until GoodReads asked me to provide some answers for my author’s page, and one of them was, “Where did you get the idea for your book?” Here is what I said, in part.

Abigail restless in church_sketch

This was my first sketch for the book, and in some ways, it has always been my favorite. Or at least, the most quintessentially Abigail.

The idea for Queen Abigail the Wise came from watching the young daughters of a church friend and seeing how hard it is for intelligent, curious, creative girls to stay as quiet and still in church as they’re supposed to. I could remember as if it were yesterday being in that same bind myself, and I couldn’t help asking myself a kind of question: “What would my adult self like to convey to my child self about church and what is going on?” I thought I would have liked to know that church is a place that is actually full of life, but how can you communicate that to a 10-year-old? That line of thought got certain wheels turning, and I began to envision a girl character who wants to do important things — to help people — and begins to find that her church life is really the best way to begin doing that in earnest.

The whole thing began to brew around a little and a plot and characters began to come together almost on their own. To my surprise, I began to see that there was a book taking shape, and that it was one that I wanted very much to read. I had Abigail sort of talking and thinking and dancing in my head, and I wanted very much to meet her so others could as well.

That struck me as a rough approximation of how it went. Of course, there was still the decision to actually write the book, which took some other elements coming together, but that’s another story. For now, there’s this little offering of genesis for one idea, and I offer it in the hope that it stirs other thinkers and aspiring writers to come up with some things of their own.

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