I’ve been asked a number of times where I get my story ideas, and the best answer I can come up with is mythology. Most of my stories have a mythological flavor to them, I think. Yet I have rarely focused on the more popular mythologies.
Though I do love Greek, Roman, and Norse myths, these have been done to death, even appearing in comic books. Thus, for most of my stories, I focus on the more obscure mythologies, such as those from Sumeria, Babylon, and Persia. I have been particularly fascinated by the creatures Lamatsu—the father and mother of all vampires (male in some societies and females in others). Tiamat—the chaos dragon—El—the high god—and Marduk—the god of thunder. In general, I tend to find great inspiration in mythology, especially if it is something different.
Of course, I don’t completely ignore the classics just because they are popular. Quite the opposite. I enjoy the fertility of the human mind and have found precious nuggets that became full fledged stories in Greek, Roman, and Norse myths. Fenrir, for example, is a fascinating character, one with great story potential. Enkidu is another one—the natural human being corrupted by civilization. The satyr, also, has great story potential. Vampires and werewolves treated in pre-christian forms instantly make these creatures interesting again.
So there you have it; that’s my secret. I get much of my inspiration from myths and legends. Currently, I’m in the process of studying Russian myths, legends, and folklore. I expect to get some great ideas from these.