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Where Do Fiction Authors Get Their Inspiration?

Updated on January 9, 2017

As any writer will no doubt agree, inspiration can come from just about anywhere. I've taken this section to share a little bit about my own inspiration for the first novel I wrote: "Experimenting With Murder". I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Inspiration for My First Novel

From the time I was a child, I’ve been infatuated with the idea of mermaids and I must admit, I believe that undiscovered marine life definitely exists under the sea. Growing up, I was always fascinated by movies that contained mermaids, especially if it wasn’t an animation or comedy. I longed for more movies where the writer took the existence of mermaids as seriously as I did as a viewer. That is why, like millions of other viewers, I tuned in to a particular mermaid related program prior to writing Experimenting with Murder, my first novel about mermaids.

”Mermaids: The New Evidence” is the title of a telecast that aired in 2013, on the Animal Planet t.v. channel. The show was reported to be the most widely watched program in Animal Planet's history. It was said to have generated a total of 3.6 million viewers.

If the existence of mermaids is so farfetched, why would millions of viewers have actually anticipated catching a glimpse of them during the show? Most viewers tuned in, hoping to watch clips of mermaids that had never been seen before; supposedly taken in the Greenland Sea.

The program focused on some documented, as well as questionable events. It used some very interesting theories to connect the dots. According to the program, in 2007, a research team heard a sound that has so far, only been identified as “the bloop”. They recorded the sound while they were investigating a series of mass whale beachings. The program implied that reputable government agencies pointed to this unidentified sound as proof of the possible existence of mermaids. After viewing the program myself, and following the buzz online, I knew it was finally time to write my first novel, and I knew exactly what I wanted it to be about, mermaids.

The Animal Planet program simply provided what I hoped would be a springboard for the premise on which my own mermaids are discovered. It stands to reason that if SONAR testing is endangering whales, dolphins and other known marine life, maybe it doesn't stop there. What if other equally unique (though not yet discovered) species are also being affected by underwater blasting?

Experimenting with Murder is the result of my ongoing love of mermaids over the years, coupled with the amount of interest that viewers showed in the mermaid related telecast. Certain locations and other factual details that are depicted in the story help to establish a believable setting, while creating an imaginative environment. In reality, billionaire Tyler Payne’s remote island could be one of many that actually exist off the coast of New Zealand.

Actual Events

In my book, I reference a real event that occurred in the year 2000, in an area called Farewell Spit (located on New Zealand's South Island). This was yet another incident of whale beachings that were said to be the result of underwater sonar testing. In Experimenting with Murder, I took a hint from the Animal Planet network, and mixed a little fact with my fiction.

As an author, I live for the chance to continue this series, and ultimately expand on the idea of the existence of mermaids. But in addition to selling books and gaining readers, I also hope in some small way, this book brings attention to, and creates a dialogue around the serious issue of beached whales is New Zealand and other areas.

Realistic Island Description (BOOK EXCERPT)

The employees that worked there didn’t really have a chance to enjoy the beauty of Tyler Payne’s island. They were all paid extremely well, but they had also been told in no uncertain terms that they weren’t there for a vacation. In addition to the tedious work schedules that they were subjected to, there were also areas of the island that were off limits to most of the personnel. Tyler made it very clear to his staff that they would have to find somewhere else in New Zealand for recreation; not on his time and not on his island.

If his employees had been able to enjoy the island properly, they would have found lots of beautiful landscape to appreciate. The island was dense with lush flora and fauna. It was covered with all sorts of luxurious undergrowth consisting of native shrubs, ferns and mosses. There were beech trees and giant kauri that grew tall on the island, protecting the plants and foliage underneath.

Like most of the islands in New Zealand, Tyler Payne’s island was truly a paradise. The jungle was alive, although it was free of wild animals that posed any threat to humans. There was a vast majority of things living on the island that were small, hidden forms of life. Ferrets, stoats, and other creatures roamed the island freely. The jungle was home to things like the pukeko bird with its brightly colored plumage and the flightless kakapo parrot with a face that looked like an owl. It was filled with a colorful array of unique insect, bird and animal species, all indigenous to the New Zealand region.

Tyler Payne’s New Zealand island was a place of sheer beauty. But beauty had nothing to do with the reason that he had bought it. For Tyler, the island provided the perfect place to conduct limitless research. He could venture into any area of research and exploration conceivable. Plus, he could do it all privately, without the government or anyone else’s interference.


This fantasy adventure starts long before billionaire Tyler Payne finds mermaids washed up on his New Zealand island. Tyler Payne is a crude man that even his family has issues with. In the beginning, he and his college friends Judd and Marisol share a fascination for marine biology. They even experience an unforgettable event while vacationing in New Zealand, an event they remember long after graduation.

Tyler breaks up their trio when he marries Marisol and the couple part ways with Judd for a while. They all become researchers in similar fields and Tyler buys his own island when his ambition makes him a billionaire. He hires Judd to work for him; along with Isaac Short, someone else from their college days. Tyler’s secluded island is virtually population free, except for staff and authorized visitors.

The discovery of mermaids lead to Tyler conducting heartless experiments that Marisol and Judd eventually want to stop. They become a threat to Tyler’s work, not to mention he’s convinced they’re having an affair. In a fit of jealous rage, Tyler gives the order to murder Judd. Now he has to cover his tracks about the sinister experiments. But Tyler Jr., Judd’s daughter Ashley and Isaac’s twin sons, Zak and Jake are all arriving on the island. The four teens are on vacation.

No one knows that Zak is already there and has secretly witnessed the murder in horror. By the time the other three teens arrive, all hell is breaking loose! Zak alerts them by describing the murder and how Tyler treated Marisol. Even Tyler Jr. suspects they may all be in danger. As the teenagers try to find answers and make their way off the island, Zak meets one of the mermaids while Ashley makes an even more unbelievable discovery!


Bruno raised his gun with only the slightest hesitation then quickly squeezed off three shots. The shots rang out loudly and were instantly followed by another sound. It was the thud of a body hitting the ground, but this time, the sound was drowned out by the constant roar of the water. The three people that had just appeared from the other side of the cave now stood on a small isolated beach. They stood, several feet away from the picturesque waterfall that managed to hide the cave they had just emerged from. The water was spilling out of the rocky mouth of another opening in the cave, from above.

When the body didn’t move, Tyler Payne looked at his wife with a satisfied expression on his face. Marisol Payne immediately let out a shrill scream that was even louder than the noise from Bruno’s gun.

One minute Tyler Payne’s bodyguard had been wielding the gun, holding it on Judd and Marisol just like his boss had instructed. The next, he was pulling the trigger, obeying Tyler Payne’s orders for him to shoot Professor Richards. Now the Professor’s body lay in a bloody heap. He died before even hitting the ground.


Less than ten minutes before the three deafening shots had rang out in the jungle, Myrrah had watched the small group as they left the cave and emerged on the other side. She had eyed them intently when she swam around in the pool located on the inside of the cave. As usual, she was lurking just beneath the surface of the water, but no one could really see her. It was a murky green color so it managed to conceal her entire body. She cautiously lifted her head out of the water and listened intently. She couldn’t determine what the noises above her were all about. After all this time in captivity, that was how she continued to view the voices of her captors, as noises or utterances. The noises that Myrrah heard today were all jumbled together. One of them wasn’t even familiar to her, so Myrrah couldn’t have comprehended what was being said if she tried. While she may not have understood the words; there was no mistaking the negative energy that filled the cave.


Where do you find the most inspiration for your writing?

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