Ideas for stories are all around us

Often when people discover I write stories they want to know where my ideas come from. I tell them that it’s from the things I love and the things I’m interested in. When I wrote The Drover’s Quest, I’d already read many history books about the West Coast gold rush days and I was interested in what life must have been like “back then.” I remember reading about a group of bush bandits called the Burgess gang who murdered gold prospectors, and from there a germ of a story festered in my mind until The Drover’s Quest formed.


This has been true for many of my books. An idea will bubble away and slowly grow. I always keep a notebook to jot down these ideas. For example, a haiku (poem) at the site of an old Japanese prisoner of war camp near Featherston in the Wairarapa inspired another book I wrote called Dreams of Warriors. The haiku reads:


Behold the summer grass

All that remains of the

Dreams of Warriors


Not many people today know that NZ had a POW camp in World War 2 where we imprisoned captured Japanese soldiers. This story is about a special friendship that grows between a Japanese prisoner and a New Zealand girl, born out of their common love of horses. Do any of you have a favourite book with this familiar theme of unusual or unlikely friendships (for example, the pig and spider in Charlotte’s Web)? My favourite of all time is The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico.

4 Responses so far

  1. 1

    zackids said,

    Mine would have to be The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, about a brave little mouse and a princess.

  2. 2

    Tierney Reardon said,


    I really like your posts.
    I’m a very big writer. I write short stories, poetry, and once I even wrote a novel. My favourite post is the Writing Tips one.
    Thank you,
    from Tierney.

    • 3

      starauthor said,

      Hi Tierney, I’m pleased you’ve enjoyed my posts. Good luck with your own writing and congrats on writing a novel! Well done.

  3. 4

    Rachael said,

    For your book Dreams of Warriors did you do a lot of research prior to writing your book?

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