I often find the most mundane of facts fascinating, and it often inspires my imagination. Others read some obscure fact or witness a seemingly normal occurrence and are inspired to invent.
Karl Friedrich Benz of Germany invented the first gas-powered automobile powered by an internal combustion engine. But it was America’s own Henry Ford who made the automobile affordable by utilizing assembly lines in his factories.
The idea of utilizing a production assembly line came to Mr. Ford after he saw a dis-assembly line the Armour and Swift meat packing plants used to process meat.
And nature inspired Swiss inventor George de Mestral to create Velcro. When he and his dog returned from a walk in the woods, they were both covered in burs. He looked at the burs under a microscope and got the idea for a new type of fastener. He named his invention Velcro from the words velour and crochet.
And Martin Cooper became inspired to invent the cell phone from watching Captain Kirk speak into his communicator. Much of the futuristic technology in the science fiction series Star Trek is based on real science.
But fiction and fantasy are often based on real science. Or inspire real science. In Robert Heinlein’s Glory Road, he has a character reading from an electronic tablet in his future world as books are no longer made from bound pages. Since Glory Road was first published in 1963, it makes me wonder if the inventor of e-readers might not have been a science fiction fan.
I’m more of a romance fan but I also enjoy science fiction and the paranormal, especially when there are romantic elements. My favorite paranormal/horror writer is Dean Koontz. I enjoy Stephen King’s work, but Mr. Koontz has a unique way of combining science fiction, horror, and/or the paranormal with a dash of romance. In Dark Rivers of the Heart, Mr. Koontz combines suspense and science fiction with romance in a tale of a man, a woman and a dog on the run from a high-tech rogue government agency.
I like the concept of rogue government agencies. The idea stayed with me after reading this book and played a big part in my own paranormal romance. Later, I read Fear Nothing, the first book in Dean Koontz’ Moonlight Bay trilogy. The main character, Chris Snow, has XP–exeroderma pigmentosum. I was fascinated by the idea of a “real” disease that prevented the sufferer from venturing out in daylight without risking severe burns and skin cancers. I read all three books in the series and began researching the disease while contemplating ideas for a vampire book. Around the same time, I saw a re-run of the old Jean-Claude Van Dam movie, Universal Soldier. And by 2005, I had completed my first draft of Out of the Darkness.
Books, movies, life, and the most mundane of events can trigger the imagination. And inspiration can come from any direction. As a writer, I’m always reading or listening, hoping to get an idea for that next book. And when I’m reading, I often wonder what inspired the writer.
So, if you’re a writer, what inspired your latest release? And if you’re a reader, what inspires your decision to choose a paranormal over a historical? Or suspense over horror?
Inquiring minds want to know!