Where Do Our Ideas Come From?

Hey there, Insiders!

Writers often get asked the same question. A question they dread.

So, where do you get your ideas from, anyway?

The truth? Most of the time, I’ve no idea. You take in your everyday life, the news, books, films, overheard conversations, and on, and on, and it all mashes together in your brain and out plops an idea. It just happens, without any obvious trail of breadcrumbs to follow back.

But sometimes…

Sometimes there is a clear and obvious spark of an idea that I can point to. In the case of Mr. Cotton & Mr. Spike, the terrifying villains that haunt Rita Hobbes and the residents of Blackpool in the Hexed Detective series, it was all down to an old photo I spotted online. THIS PHOTO:

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Kinda creepy, right? I was browsing pics of old Halloween costumes and there they were. Staring back at me. Something about it grabbed me and I began to wonder who, or what, they could be. Clearly, they were a pair who were up to no good.

Mr. Cotton & Mr. Spike. Brothers. Yeah, that seemed right. Then came the following passage. A warning, really.

‘It’s true, they were brothers, despite their obvious differences. Mr. Cotton and Mr. Spike. They lived in a house that did not exist. And if you were to take a wrong turn one strange day, only to find yourself knocking upon this impossible home’s door, you would soon discover that there are many worse things in this world than being lost.’

And that was it. They were born. Now, it took a little while for me to find a place for them. It wasn’t until I was sketching out ideas for Hexed Detective that I realised what that book needed. It needed a creepy villain. It needed a dangerous villain. It needed Mr. Cotton & Mr. Spike. And so the pair stepped out of that old, black & white picture and onto the streets of Blackpool.

The Hexed Detective books are my favourite Uncanny Kingdom series that I’ve written so far, and a big part of that is down to that rotten pair, in their ancient, tatty animal masks. Now tell me, have you had the rabbit mask dream…?

Matt.


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