Authors tell you what inspired their work

Anna Elliott, Author of "Twilight of Avalon"

For me to say that the idea for my novel Twilight of Avalon came to me in a dream seems almost too fantastic a story to be believed.  But it really is true, and it happened this way.

It was an afternoon in the early spring of 2006, and I was four months pregnant with my little girl.  I'd been writing and trying to get published for a few years, always coming close but never selling a book.  I'd just weeks before been dropped by my first agent, who had decided to pursue another career — and that afternoon, I'd gotten my final-nail-in-the-coffin rejection on the book I'd been shopping around.  I remember sitting at my computer and thinking that maybe my career as an author wasn't ever going to be.  I had my daughter to think about, after all.  My husband was in grad school, I was the one planning to stay home with the baby, and maybe this was a sign from the universe that I needed to give up on writing and just focus on being a mother.

But at the same time, I did have my daughter to think about.  Even though she wasn't born yet.  Even though I didn't yet even really know who she was.  I was going to be a mother.  And I had to ask myself what I wanted my daughter to learn from me, to take from the example I set by my own life.  That if your dream doesn't come true easily or right away you just give up on it?  Of course not.

Any dream worth having is worth fighting for.  That was what I wanted my daughter to know.  And I decided that afternoon that I was going to write another book — though I didn't yet know what it was going to be.  Only that I was going to find a new and completely different story to tell.  And that this one was going to be "the one" — the one that made it off my computer, onto the shelves of real, actual bookstores, and into real readers' hands.

And a week or so later I had a dream.  A very vivid dream that I was telling my mom that I was going to write a novel about the daughter of Modred, great villain of the cycle of King Arthur tales.  I'd been an English major in college with a focus on Medieval literature, and had fallen in love with the Arthurian world then.  So when I woke up, the idea just wouldn't let me go.  And over the next nine months or so — with a brief break for my daughter's birth! — that same idea turned into the manuscript for Twilight of Avalon.

A long time devotee of historical fiction and fantasy, Anna Elliott lives in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband and young daughter. Twilight of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan & Isolde is her first published work. It is the first book in a planned trilogy. For more information, please visit her website and her author profile page on the Simon & Schuster site.

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Sunday June 21st 2009, 11:21 PM
Comment by: RAY R. (ALBANY Australia)
Hi Anna great message and very inspirering.It reminds me of a quote by R.W Emerson"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail".Best wishes for the future.
Regards RAY R.

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