The Power of doodling: How I found the idea for The Door to Unger

I’ve been posting a lot of the sketches and artwork for the fifth Kendra Kandlestar book, but since amazon has a promotion to download Kendra Kandlestar and the Door to Unger for free this week, I thought I would post one of the earliest sketches that inspired that book.

The whole idea for the plot of Door to Unger came from doodling. See, originally, I had NO idea for the book. I had written and published The Box of Whispers, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to write another Kendra book. I didn’t really have a specific idea or direction in mind. I began brainstorming, but nothing was really sticking. I remember thinking that I might even focus a sequel on Honest Oki, making him the central character instead of Kendra.

Well, the summer that all of this was floating around in my mind, I found myself in England. With all of its castles and dungeons, it’s a fantastic place for inspiration—especially when you’re writing a fantasy book. Strangely, however, I wasn’t traipsing through the maze at Hampton Court or up the Tower of London when I was struck with that magic bolt of inspiration. I was out in the country, sitting on a beach in Cornwall, staring out at the sea and the rocks. I had my sketchbook with me and I just began doodling. That’s when I came up with this sketch:

Concept sketch for Trooogul and Kendra

I’m not sure WHY I drew this picture. It wasn’t connected to any existing idea floating around in my coconut at the time. But as soon as I was finished this particular sketch, something sparked inside of me. By this picture I couldn’t tell if Kendra was being saved or stolen. And then I realized that she didn’t know it either. And that, in essence, became the nugget of the story.

I’m not sure how many times drawing has saved me when it comes to writing. But this is one of the best examples of just how connected my writing process is to drawing.

Oh! I should mention that this illustration turned out to be the focal element of the print edition cover. But that is another story . . .