What Inspired Tales from the Forest of the Hooting Owl?

Authors are often asked about their inspiration for writing a particular book, or series. Most of the time, I can't really define this in any sensible way, but I do know what inspired this series, because Sprout, the main character, had been a part of my writing life for some time already.

For a couple of years, when I first started using Instagram, I would post a short story every day (yes, every day!). These were always written to some kind of prompt. That might have been a picture someone else had posted, a caption, a comment, and I would occassionally ask for prompts, too.

One day, someone I followed posted a picture of a dagger, alongside a book, and said it was a goblin-detecting dagger. At the time, not having read the books, or seen the films, I had no idea this was a reference to Lord of the Rings, but it was a prompt that I couldn't ignore. That was the moment that Sprout was born. A mischievous goblin who tried to get into a house by being posted, but was thwarted by a goblin-detecting dagger.

This story was one of the more popular ones and, as often happens, the story was expanded. The first part gave no indication of why Sprout wanted to get into the house, but I took several other prompts, such as stones with holes in them, large dogs, and a few other things, and ended up with a series of five (I think) parts that made up a whole.

But that wasn't the end of Sprout. Every few months a new tale appeared and this mischievous goblin couldn't be held down.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion that Sprout needed a larger vehicle to express his personality. Some of the details changed significantly, but that first story I wrote, became the basis for the first book in the series, The Goblin and the Stolen Ring. From then on, the series took its own path, with the odd connection back to those initial stories.

So, there you have it - how a story was born.

March 2019