Over on Kaaron Warren’s blog, she’s asking a bunch of writers about what sparks their stories.

Check out what Twelfth Planet Press authors Sean Williams, Deborah Biancotti, Cat Sparks, Lucy Sussex, Angela Slatter and Ben Peek had to say.

Ever wondered where Deborah Biancotti gets her gritty imagery for the Sydney streets?:

To get a feel for a side of Sydney that is gritty & dread-filled & frankly nasty, I did that thing I do that always depresses me: I read the Sydney Morning Herald. I read it for weeks, tucking away strange little articles about horrible happenings – especially around murders, ‘cos my story was going to have murders. At first I kept it all as ‘research’ pages in the Scrivener file where I was writing the story. But I ended up with so many clippings they needed their own file.

Or the inspiration for Cat Sparks’ “All the Love in the World”, first published in Sprawl last year:

It’s a post-apocalypse story, but not the usual kind. What if society didn’t automatically default to cannibalistic savagery once the cities and infrastructure were gone? What if fractured segments branched out organically into new, more intimate forms? Utopia was never on my agenda. As a fantasist, I’m capable of imagining many things, but utopia on Earth isn’t one of them.

The landscape of my story is inspired by elements of the social and cultural climate of the New South Wales south coast region. I’m from Sydney originally and I recall how vividly Sydney’s CBD was still a major part of my life for years after I moved down here. I seemed to be up there every weekend, but over time, it has become less and less interesting and personally relevant. When I return there now I feel like a tourist. The natives seem rich and distant. The buildings too tall, the lights too bright.

Lucy Sussex talks about some of her sparks for stories in Thief of Lives:

The best crime fiction tends to derive from real-life events. ‘The Fountain of Justice’ came from a conversation with someone I will only describe as working at the intersection of crime and justice. They just had to tell someone and it turned out to be me. I altered one major detail, and let faulty memory do the rest of the fictionalizing. That apart, it’s all true…

When editors ask me to do something, that’s a compliment, and I try to oblige. Susan Johnson asked me to write about sex. ‘The Subject of O’ was the result, but it came in after deadline and can’t have suited the anthology. No matter. ‘Thief of Lives’ was originally for Ellen Datlow, topic: vampires. I said I’d write about writers as vampires, feeding off others to fuel their fictions.

And Ben Peek talks about the inspiration and writing of Below:

Writing Below was always a little different to writing anything else, because there was always Steph and Above to consider, to make sure that we were creating a novel, that the high end concept of a society in the sky, and a society on the ground, would work. But, outside that, and for myself personally, I have always loved the idea of a society fractured between those living in the sky and those on the ground.

Read more of each of these answers by following the links above.