Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about where I get my inspiration to write—in general and specifically my current project. Yesterday was the real Star Wars Day, aka May 25, aka the 35th anniversary of A New Hope (then just called Star Wars) being released into theatres. Star Wars has been a huge part of my life for twenty years now, and it would be impossible for me to not be inspired by the films and novels. Robber Barrons, in particular, takes a lot of inspiration from Star Wars in that it’s a young woman’s coming-of-age story. Who didn’t feel Luke Skywalker’s sense of longing when he stood on his farm, watching his last binary sunset? I hope that people will be able to sympathize with Victoria Anetti in a similar way as she travels into the Colonies for the first time. There are some elements of Firefly in this project as well. Firefly is about the crew of a ship, and at its core so is Robber Barrons. I wanted to create the same type of feel, where the characters create a family, and ultimately the story is about them, not just outer space science fiction-y stuff. Another story I find very inspirational is The Icarus Hunt by Timothy Zahn (which, coincidentally, just came out in ebook format; go read it!). The novel takes place in the far future and involves the crew of the ship Icarus racing back to Earth to deliver precious cargo. This is one of my favorite novels; I love the characters, the setting, the entire science fiction feel. The “chase” aspect of Robber Barrons was definitely inspired by The Icarus Hunt; but then again, I love “on-the-run” plotlines in general. Finally, I recently finished the first three books of the Mageworlds series (and described in detail why you should read it, and you really should), and they have become one of my favorite science fiction trilogies ever. Between having a female main character who doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps, a ship that’s a character in itself, and seemingly impossible missions, I immediately realized my ideas for Robber Barrons had a lot in common with the themes of Mageworlds. (Note: I had already started writing RB before reading Mageworlds.) Besides all being space operas, the other thing these four stories have in common is that they create a sense of wonder. It’s the entire reason I love science fiction, especially space operas. Fantasy has never been my cup of tea; maybe it’s because it’s not in the “future” and therefore there’s no possibility of life turning out that way? I don’t know. But with space operas, everything seems so wondrous and inspirational and exciting. One of my most anticipated movies of the year is Prometheus for exactly those reasons, and I really hope it lives up to my expectations. As far as Robber Barrons is concerned, by goal over this Memorial Day weekend is to finish Part 1. I have three days to get that done and a chapter and a half to write, so I think I can do it! And there’s a Star Wars Marathon on Spike to celebrate, so I know where to look when I need inspiration. May the Force be with me!