Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dreams And Goals And Inspirations, Oh My!

The start of a new year has always excited me. It’s a chance to reflect, make lists (I’m a Virgo, it’s what we do!), and plan for the future. I gave up making resolutions years ago. Instead, I prefer to set goals—ones that push me beyond limits I hadn’t even imagined. I’ve never had a problem with dreaming big, and I’ve been lucky enough to have fulfilled some of those dreams already. But with every dream or goal accomplished, I usually have another three tucked away, ready to work towards. 2011 is no different.

Right now, Vestige is ready to go out on submission to publishing professionals. I’m looking forward to sharing this book and have fingers, toes, and eyes crossed it will appeal to many people. I’ve already started on my next book, a mystery set around the time the Tango was first invented. But rather than bore you with a laundry list of personal goals, I thought I’d share an insight as to how a germ of an idea can inspire me to write an entire book.

I’ve spent years collecting facts and myths about everything related to Latin America. Sometimes when I’m stuck, I pull out my list and voila, the inspiration hits me and off I go. When I worked in tourism, I had a list of “must see and do” things for my clients, and we used it as a jumping off point for planning their dream vacations.

So here’s Alli’s list of ideas that I may use in the future to inspire me when I’m looking for to write a story (and no, I don’t have a problem sharing because even if two or more writers wrote about the same thing, the stories will always be different):

Bolivia: It’s been rumoured that the ancient city of Atlantis is buried at the bottom of the inland sea of Lake Poopo, high in the Bolivian Antiplano. A cartographer discovered a rectangular-shaped plain lying beneath this lake and he believes (and has convinced others) that Atlantis was built on a small, volcanic island. According to Plato, the whole region of Atlantis was raised above the ocean and many now feel the plain in Bolivia fits these characteristics perfectly.

Much of Latin America: The chupacabra, a “goat sucker” is an animal that systematically prowls on farm animals and kills them by drinking their blood. One of the favourite animals it preys on is—you’ve guessed it—goats. Descriptions vary as to what the creature looks like, but people have reported it as the size a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail. It’s skin is a scaly greenish-gray and stands and hops in a similar manner to a kangaroo. Some people have said when the chupacabra screeches, their eyes glow red and witnesses report feeling nauseous.

Mesoamerica: The Nagual (or Nahual) is a human being who has the power to turn into an animal—most commonly donkeys, turkeys, and dogs. But it can also take the form of more powerful animals such as a jaguar or puma. A Nagual can use their powers for good or evil, depending on their wishes. The Nagual is linked to pre-Columbian shamanistic practises and the date a person is born can have an impact as to whether a person becomes a Nagual. The modern-day equivalent is a shape shifter. 

To say I’m excited about this year is an understatement. I have a new book that’s ready to send out, another one I’m working on, a conference to organise (RWA Australia) and a lot of new things to learn about my craft. Bring it on, 2011!

What’s in store for you this year? What are your goals? Aspirations? Inspirations?


  1. Get cracking and write these stories, Alli! I want to read them. I've heard of both the Nahual and Chupacabra, though I thought the latter was just Mexican. I always learn something new from you. I didn't know that Bolivia was a possible Atlantis location. Very cool!

  2. Thanks, Heidi. I love doing research, I find out all sorts of interesting things and I just never know where it will take me!

  3. Good luck with the submissions, Alli! And I love the Chupacabra idea! They live in Miami too.

  4. Thanks, Edith! Yes, I heard the chupacabra's are widespread. Cool, huh?