“What inspires you?”

I’ve done a couple interviews now and that seems to be a pretty common question. Actually, everyone seems to want to know that, not even just interviewers. You’d think it would be a pretty simple question to answer, but if you’re a writer you know that’s not so. Inspiration is a complicated thing. Generally ideas come from all over and it’s up to you to mash them together into something resembling a story.

That is precisely what happened with my story Sister Margaret. For anyone who writes this will sound very familliar, but if you don’t write maybe you’ll be interested in this tiny bit of insight.

It all started when I watched Sin City and was taken by the narrative style of the main character. “Oh,” I thought. “I want to do something in that sort of noir-y style.” Then I read a writing exercise at NaNoLJers to  create a character sketch based on someone you knew as a child. Finally, I had been thinking about writing some short stories set in the same world as a novel I’d been writing. Those are just some of the inspirations I’m aware of, I’m sure my sub concious mind picked up little things here and there and tossed them into the mix too — just to keep things interesting.

The result is Sister Margaret, a story about a priestess of lies who hires a vampire hunter and a half-incubus swordsman to destroy an undead pimp.


Where do you draw inspiration from? For writing or any sort of creative expression? I’d wager it comes from several places the same as mine.

Before I go, allow me to share a short excerpt from Sister Margaret. This is a short battle scene…not very romantic, I grant you, but I am very fond of it 🙂


Not one to waste time with niceties, Bayne kicked down the door and went to work.

I’d seen him at work with his sword before, plenty of times; each one better than the last, but nothing had prepared me for this.

Xaphan had a lot of minions—a lot. They swarmed on Bayne like flies on shit, a living wave of fists and feet, all determined to bring him down. None of them reached him. His face, contorted by battle fury, looked every bit like a demon, all trace of humanity erased. He moved the sword as though it were an extension of himself, each movement calculated to destroy as many of his foes as possible. Within minutes, the roar of battle subsided to the whimpering of wounded, and Bayne’s once white hair was stained pink with blood. An occasional cut ripped through his shirt; one or two even managed to draw blood. But in less than ten minutes, he’d reduced the vampire’s army to a pile of mangled corpses and unidentified gore.

I entered as he replaced his sword in the scabbard strapped across his back, careful to watch my step lest I slip on the blood and goo and find myself covered in things I’d rather not contemplate. From a far corner, buried in shadows that mortal eyes couldn’t hope to penetrate, the distinct sound of feminine sobs could be heard. The leech had hostages after all. Good thing I’d decided against the fireball.

“You get the girls,” I said. “I’ll take care of the vampire and meet you back outside.”

Bayne nodded and delivered a sharp kick to the nose of one of his opponents who lay moaning in the sea of gore. The man’s face imploded, shattering beneath the force of Bayne’s boot, and then Bayne headed wordlessly toward the sound of the hostages.


Rhonda Parrish

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