Where do ideas come from? I don’t think anyone really knows for sure. They sort of rise up like bubbles in a glass of lemonade, I think. Some are the slow ones that creep up the glass like beetles, but others seem to whiz up and burst on the surface quicker than blinking. Ideas are like that – some of them are quick, and some of them are slow. But they’re all ideas. They’re all going to go POP, eventually.
The Strangeworlds Travel Agency was one of the fast bubbles. Which I don’t get very often, so it took me completely by surprise. My ideas usually stew for a long time – they’re made up of things I love (magic! travel! secrets!) and things I want to say (look after the world! people can be good to each other!). But how to make that all work together?
I’d always loved stories where ordinary people get to do extraordinary things, and become part of extraordinary worlds. Stories like His Dark Materials, or Neverwhere I love especially because they show that magic can be hiding in our own world, hiding away just waiting for the right person. And ideas are made up of things we have already read, already watched, already played. Ideas are reinvented all the time, changed to fit into a new story. And my travelling-to-other-worlds story just happened to include suitcases!
I was washing my hair when The Strangeworlds Travel Agency burst like a bubble into my head. I knew, as fast as anything, what the travel agency looked like, who Flick and Jonathan might be, what the magical suitcases were and how they worked. But that was all because my brain had taken an idea done before (going to another world), and changed it a bit. That’s where you can give your ideas a bit of a nudge.
If there’s a type of story you love, steal the bit of it you like the most, and then give it a small change. You might be surprised at what pops into your head.
The Strangeworlds Travel Agency was published by Hachette on 30th April 2020, and is available to purchase from all good booksellers – so grab yourself a copy and get inspired by the incredible world of magic that L.D.Lapinski has created within this unforgettable story. I would like to say a huge thank you to Lucy and to Hachette for this fantastic feature for my blog as a part of this truly stunning book’s blog tour. For your chance to win a copy of The Strangeworlds Travel Agency check out my tweets during the day (@SamJDThomas) and be sure to enter!