9781501134241Every reader wonders at some point what–or who–inspired an author’s work. Was it an influential childhood friend? A fleeting moment with a stranger? Nothing? #1 New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison answers this burning question in the below essay about what inspired the world of Opti and its characters for her new eBook novella SIDESWIPED, a prequel to THE DRAFTER and out now from Pocket Star! Pick up SIDESWIPED today for only $0.99!

You’ve seen those brilliant writers whose eyes gleam with an inner knowledge, those who can beam at you and resolutely tell you where the inspiration behind their brain child came from? That’s not me. I’ve never been able to point to any one thing and say, there, that’s the inspiration, that’s the core.

There are lightning bolts of inspiration, of course, but like many, my ideas form slowly from a piece here, a piece there, and I often don’t know the full story myself until I reach the end because it’s never been wholly about saving the world for me. It’s about saving a soul, a character, a person—and that takes time to realize, like a friendship.

So when facing the task of trying to explain where Peri Reed came from, the best I can do is to point to other characters that I like and admire, attractive in form or intellect, clever, inventive, determined, powerful—those able to get things done in a team “sport” where success relies on individual skills.

Though Peri Reed is all woman, her inspiration is not, which is probably a result of having grown up reading books where boys often had the best toys and having to put myself in a man’s POV in order to save the world. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not throwing stones, but writing female characters causing change has got to be one of the most satisfying part of this job. I can’t help but hope that the male demographic who enjoys action thrillers will have no problem watching a woman save the world, seeing as the men beside her are at least as smart, sexy, and clever as she is.

James Bond: Because it’s the team behind you that gives you strength, but it’s the power of one that gets it done.

Jason Bourne: Because the team behind you probably doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

Selene from Underworld: Because being competent and able to make the hard decisions doesn’t mean you can’t love and be loved.

Deckard from Blade Runner: Because doubt and fear should ultimately make you stronger, and the future isn’t always bright even if hope is.

Dr. Heywood R. Floyd from 2010: Because our differences and needs are small in the grand scheme of things.

Brian O’Conner from Fast and Furious: Because I’m from Detroit and I appreciate beautiful machines. No, because loyalty should count more than the law.

Special Agent Gracie Hart From Miss Congeniality: Because femininity shouldn’t be sacrificed for strength, and being strong does not have to translate into harsh and bitchy.

Ripley from Alien: Because you never leave a man behind, even when he’s a cat.

Old school Dr. Who: Because he’s the most realistically moral and potentially dangerous character who has been with me, coloring my thoughts, for over three decades.