E is for Echoes – More specifically, where the idea came from.
I’m fairly certain my nighttime habits were completely annoying to my sisters. As a little girl I begged my sisters to let me sleep with them all. the. time. Now that might not sound so bad, except I happened to be a crazy sleeper – for instance one time the person I was sleeping with awoke to find my legs across their throat.
As I grew older I stopped the begging, but that didn’t keep me from waiting until my sisters were asleep and then stealthily borrowing their pillows for the night. Or sometimes I would slip in and sleep on the floor in their room (this habit did have a purpose since their room was the coolest in the summer and warmest in the winter).
When I was in my teens I spent a lot of time being tired during the day due to having Lyme disease; that meant I took lots of naps. I’m not quite sure why I started this trend, but I eventually decided my brother’s bedroom was the best place to take a nap. He was always at work, so the room was empty anyway, and he was gracious enough that he didn’t mind.
My brother had a wall of bookshelves right by his bed, and I would lay there for hours, studying the bookshelves, and occasionally taking a book down and reading it. Right at the perfect height to gaze at there was a whole row of missionary biographies. Sometimes instead of reading the books, I would just look at them and recall all the information I knew about that particular missionary.
Mary Slessor was one missionary who’s story I found to be captivating. The idea that twins were killed because the tribe into which they were born thought only one was a child and the other was an evil spirit? Well, that intrigued and horrified me to no end.
One afternoon as I lay there resting, I was working on brainstorming a story about princesses. (Because, really, princesses are the best.) From somewhere the idea of incorporating the account of Esther into the book took root – probably because Esther’s account in the Bible is one of my favorites. Then as I scanned the wall of books in front of me, it suddenly made perfect sense to have twin princesses ruling in a country where twins were outcasts. Their guardian would teach them that they had been born for “such a time as this,” and from that point on, the story slowly began taking shape.
Do you ever get great ideas simply by looking at bookshelves?