A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Janet Edwards: Three Weird Places That Inspired My Writing


You can find inspiration in the weirdest places. I’m sure you’re thinking there is absolutely nothing strange about Stonehenge inspiring someone to write. I’d totally agree with you if it had inspired me to write a scene that was historical. It only qualifies as odd because this was a scene in my Earth Girl trilogy, which is science fiction and set at the end of the twenty-eighth century.

In fact, this was one of my dreaded missing scenes. I sometimes have a complete first draft of a book, except for a missing scene that the creative side of my brain absolutely refuses to write. I bribe, order, and beg it to write the scene, but it won’t behave until something happens to clear the road block.

The main character in the Earth Girl trilogy is an archaeology student. She does briefly refer to Stonehenge in both the first two books, so although this particular scene had no connection with Stonehenge at all, I think that being there made me feel closer to her character. Whatever the reason, I finally wrote a problem scene that was set hundreds of years in the future, and I did it while sitting on the King Barrow Ridge looking towards the stone circle that was raised over four thousand years ago.

The Empty House

You can find inspiration is just around the corner. The empty house was literally just around the corner from where I lived. It was a substantial, well built house, no different from the ones on either side that still held growing families, except that it had been abandoned and left to fall into disrepair. It was a house that could easily inspire an author to write a gripping tale of why it was left empty, possibly involving ghosts and murder.

For me though, that house inspired a very different type of story. I was writing a book set in the year 2408, when fewer than a thousand people still scavenged a life in abandoned New York. Every time I walked past the empty house, and saw the ivy had smothered more of the walls, or its tendrils had pried their way inside another window, or more tiles had slipped out of place on the roof, I saw a microcosm of my future abandoned New York. I pictured a whole city with paths cracking, ivy rampaging unchecked over buildings, panes of glass plummeting from skyscrapers, and holes appearing in roofs to let in the full destructive force of wind and water.

Just before Scavenger Alliance was published, a builder bought the house that was my inspiration, and it has been renovated now. Ivy banished, roof repaired, windows replaced, it now has people living there again, and is virtually indistinguishable from its neighbours. My vision of an abandoned New York remains firmly in my head though, as I work on the sequel to Scavenger Alliance.

The Shopping Centre

You can find inspiration comes walking straight towards you. On a day when the rain poured down with unrelenting persistence, I took refuge from the weather in a shopping centre. It was a huge, new, gleaming place packed with mirrored walls and brightly lit shops.

At the time, I had an idea bubbling away in the back of my mind. It was for a series of books set in a vast, many-levelled underground city, with transport systems of lifts, conveyor belts, and moving staircases. I imagined the city as having endless mazes of corridors, but there’d also be community centres, schools, and artificially lit parks, as well as shopping areas very much like this one.

As I reached the central area of the shopping centre, I saw a line of teenagers coming down one of the escalators, and my head replaced them with a different image. A line of eighteen-year-olds dressed in silver and gold costumes and wearing masks. It was the last day of their city’s Carnival celebrations. The last day that they’d be together. The last day before they’d enter the testing process that would decide their future careers and their place in their city’s rigid hierarchy.

That image became the opening scene for Telepath, the first book in my Hive Mind series.

Janet Edwards

Website|Facebook|Goodreads|Twitter Janet Edwards is the author of the Earth Girl science fiction trilogy (Earth Girl, Earth Star, and Earth Flight) and related books set in the Portal Future. She also has a new Hive Mind series set in an unrelated future Earth.  Earth Girl was voted an American Library Association Teens’ Top Ten Title. Find out more about Janet and her books at


This entry was posted on September 11, 2017 by and tagged , , .

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