ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rowena Cory Daniells, best selling author of the trilogy King Rolen’s Kin, set out to write the kind of books that you curl up with on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Her new fantasy trilogy, The Outcast Chronicles, has just been released in 2012.

Her noir-paranormal-crime The Price of Fame will also be released in 2012.

Writing: Part Inspiration, Part Perspiration

by Rowena Cory Daniells

First comes the love of story. That’s the inspiration part.

This is me aged 7 with my black cat, Zorro.

When I was a child every Friday afternoon, the teacher would ask us to write a something in our composition books. I guess it was the end of the week, the teacher was tired and grumpy and so were the kids. I guess a classroom of children bent over their desks writing silently sounded like a good idea. Most of the kids dreaded Friday afternoons.

I loved them. It was a chance to set my imagination free and someone would read my story!

Because as much as the act of writing is all consuming and satisfying in itself, the reaction from the reader is the other half of the equation. I’ve wept and agonised along with my characters. I want to know that the reader has wept and cheered for them, too.

My poor teachers… No matter what topic they wrote on the blackboard I managed to make it interesting. Honestly, you’d think they set out to come up with bland topics. Didn’t they know the world was a wonderful amazing place?

No matter, I would show them. I could find an interesting angle in the most mundane statement. Somehow I wrote stories full of adventure and amazement. I wrote one about a fancy dress ball in space, another about stumbling across a space ship while walking in the bush and accidently setting off the launch procedure, and another one about picking up the phone and overhearing aliens planning to conquer the earth. (I was nine years old and saw the telephone as an amazing communication device. I even used special effects. I made the aliens’ conversation other-worldly by writing it with deliberately shaky handwriting so the teacher could tell aliens were speaking).

Did my teachers ever comment on the story? No, not once. All they ever did was list my spelling mistakes and make me write them out ten times. What was wrong with them? Didn’t they realise that the story was the important thing? Spelling could come later, (and it did with the advent of spell-checker). One word of acknowledgement would have meant the world to me. It never came.

But that didn’t stop me.

Because rejection doesn’t stop a real writer, they just keep on writing and learning their craft. That’s the perspiration part.

We grow up surrounded by stories. We learn important things through story (don’t be like the boy who cried wolf). And we look for story in events. (Why did he do that? Did he get caught? What happened to the people he hurt?)

But that doesn’t mean the vision we have in our minds can be transferred to the page successfully. This is where writing craft comes in, the perspiration that turns inspiration into story. I love reading. I’m always learning from other writers. And I’m always attempting new and better ways to translate my visions into words that will leap off the page and come to life in the reader’s mind.

There once was a little girl. It was so beautiful it took her breath away and made her heart swell with joy. She wanted to know the story behind it, but no one could tell her. So she made one up.

(Maxfield Parrish. Daybreak)

She grew up to write stories (despite her teachers). She hopes that when you read her stories, you will feel that sense of wonder, be thrilled by the adventure and cheer for the characters because you are the other half of the equation. Without readers, writers are just voices in the void.

Sorry, I got a bit carried away there. But it is true. I would have given anything for a teacher who recognised my love of story and nurtured it by introducing me new writers but I went on to write any way.

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Sorne, the estranged son of a King on the verge of madness, is being raised as a weapon to wield against the mystical Wyrds. Half a continent away, his father is planning to lay siege to the Celestial City, the home of the T En, whose wyrd blood the mundane population have come to despise. Within the City, Imoshen, the only mystic to be raised by men, is desperately trying to hold her people together. A generations long feud between the men of the Brotherhoods and the women of the sacred Sisterhoods is about to come to a head. With war without and war within, can an entire race survive the hatred of a nation? Rowena Cory Daniells, the creator of the bestselling Chronicles of King Rolen s Kin, brings you a stunning new fantasy epic, steeped in magic and forged in war.


Rowena has a copy of Besieged, book one of The Outcast Chronicles, to give away to one lucky commenter. To enter please answer the following question then fill out the form below: Did you have a teacher who inspired you?

This giveaway is open to all and ends 12th September 2012

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Carolyn created Book Chick City in July 2009 due to her love of books. A Brit chick obsessed with zombies, kick-arse chicks and sexy heroes. She's also seriously addicted to chocolate, shopping, and coffee. Her favourite genres are Urban Fantasy, Romance and Zombie Lit... Brrraaaaiiinnnnsss!


STUART HARGREAVES September 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm



maureen findley September 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Probably my art teacher was the most inspirational


helen wawrejko September 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm

No one stands out, my english teacher does come to mind


suan watts September 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm

A Junior school teacher Miss Hudson, she grilled times tables into us like no other. Thank you Miss Hudson


andrea miles September 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm

does my father count


Stephanie September 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm

My English teacher inspired me with great books.


erinf1 September 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm

What’s sad is that no one teacher really stands out to me, all these years later. I’m in my 30’s and while I enjoyed school, there wasn’t a teacher that inspired me enough that I can remember. That could be a reflection on me too!

Thanks for a great post and congrats on the new release! It was already on my radar and I love the cover!


Melissa (Books and Things) September 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I had several teachers that inspired me. Some were positive and I just loved being in their class, while others inspired me negatively. I was determined to prove them wrong. 😀


suzanne bellingham September 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

yes my year teacher in junior 3 , I couldnt spell when I started but was top of the class when I left as he never gave up on me and convinced me I could do it. Thanks mr Mulholland


Jo September 5, 2012 at 8:53 pm

I really empathise with Rowena’s thoughts regarding English teachers seemingly concentrating more on grammar and spelling over story writing and content. I always felt frustration with that. I suppose I ended up being able to ‘read and write’ properly but all that imagination dwindled away. How different that all seems today with how children are taught. Out of necessity of dwindling resources teaching has become much more verbalised…thank god for spell-check though 😉


Busy writer has been busy… | September 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

[…] Over on Book Chick City: Writing, Parting Inspiration, Part Perspiration […]

blodeuedd September 5, 2012 at 9:21 pm

*waves* :)

Oh teachers, one once commented that the name of a character was silly, it was meant to be silly. And see, i still remember those words :/


Mel S September 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm

My Physics teacher Mrs Hanzel encourage me to try physics for degree – and I managed to get a masters in it. She always made lessons fun and interesting! :-)


Marie-Claude September 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm

I had a lot of great teachers in all my schooling. I hated (and still do) my plant biology class…..but I had the best teacher ever!!!!


Jessica Bronder September 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I had an English teacher that was one of the sweetest teachers that I ever had. She made the class fun and kept everyone’s attention. Mind you, English is one class that I hate, but I didn’t mind sitting through one of her lectures or getting any of my papers back that looked like a pen died on it.

Thank you for the great giveaway!!


Julie Witt September 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I had a history teacher who brought history alive for me, but since it was SO long ago, I can’t for the life of me recall his name! I still remember his classes though :)


Natasa September 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm

The one person who made the biggest impact in my life is my Media Studies teacher. During my last two years in high school I was going through some stuff, and she was the one who made it possible for me to get through it, mainly through her kindness and understanding.

Because Media was the newest course in the roster, mostly slackers chose to take it up. Those who were actually interested were advised to pick “fail-safe” electives like law & economics because the perception in my country is that the job opportunities lie with them. So, you can imagine what kind of atmosphere inhabited the classroom.

My classmates started bullying the teacher from day one because they saw her forgiveness and kindness as weakness. They didn’t say it to her face, but behind her back they called her things I’m too embarrassed to say. She knew, of course. It was on her face every time she entered the classroom. When I tried to defend her, they brushed me off as teacher’s pet every time.

This went on for two. Freaking. Years, people.

I know this is nothing compared to what other people have gone through, but my teacher’s constant optimism and perseverance in the face of such negativity at the time taught me that no matter what’s thrown at you or what horrible things are said about you, you just have to weather it out and eventually you’ll come out a stronger and better person because of all that.


Sheryl September 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm

My P6 and 7 teacher stands out. I can’t think of any other teachers that inspired me like she did.


Lissette Martinez September 6, 2012 at 1:21 am

What a beautiful story!! And your cat, zorro.. Sounds really fierce!!
i had one teacher, in highschool, she told me she was amazed by my way to write essays, because everyone else seemed to use the same words all over again. I was so proud of me :) She told me to keep writing, but I haven’t written anything else than homework for college.


Victoria Zumbrum September 6, 2012 at 2:10 am

No unfortunately I didn’t. I went to a school district where the teachers just didn’t care.


Rachel at theJeepDiva September 6, 2012 at 2:50 am

The teacher that inspired me was my business teacher. She was awesome at what she does and inspired me to go to college to work with computers. I did not end up there because I started a family but still.


Bethany C. September 6, 2012 at 2:57 am

I loved my 6th grade teacher Mr Manion. He was the best teacher ever. And he paid me the best compliment ever: he thanked my mother for having me. Damn, now that I think about it he’d probably be disappointed; he probably expected me to become a governor or cure cancer or something.


Dovile September 6, 2012 at 6:29 am

I did. She used to organize school plays, and that made me got used to public speaking. And I loved playing in them too, even if I was never chosen to be one of the stars:)


Lia Oxanne September 6, 2012 at 6:47 am

Yes, I did, my master teacher from high school. He was the one who made our group come together, the one who learned me when to speak, when to shut up, how to dream and how to make my dreams come true.


bn100 September 6, 2012 at 7:29 am

Yes, I did.


Jenny September 6, 2012 at 9:12 am

When I was about 7 – I got 17/20 in a spelling test and the teacher said it was diabolical! (Even though it wasn’t the lowest mark in the class by a long way!) I learnt the word diabolical that day! I also learnt that he had high expectations for me, which motivated me to reach them.


April September 6, 2012 at 9:39 am

I had a few teachers who inspired me growing up. I think the number one teacher in mind was Mr.Ski as we called him. He came to the high school and our science class as a substitite teacher but all the students loved him so much that the school would have been dumb not to make him a full time teacher, which they did. He always made everyone laugh, made school and lessons fun. I even remember him showing up to class one day in a divers wet suit. 😉 No joke.


Giada M. September 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Unfortunately no…not at school anyway. :(


Mickie September 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Mr Keith Thomas, taught D&T, loved his rugby, Welsh. He realised that I wasn’t that good academically and certainly not that creative for D&T and actually put aside his free time to give me an understanding. Taught me to not give up when things seem hard, and still has the time to chat to me, years after I left!


Mary Preston September 7, 2012 at 10:22 am

My Father taught me through all 7 years of Primary School. I went to 3 different schools, as we moved whenever my Father received a promotion, but each time I ended up with my Father in the classroom.

I LOVED IT!!! He was an excellent teacher & of course I always got his jokes.


Tânia September 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm

yes, my very first teacher : )


Solange September 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Yes, my English teacher


Brian September 8, 2012 at 9:53 am

Sadly I can’t think of one teacher who’s inspired me.


LisaC September 8, 2012 at 5:59 pm

My seventh grade English teacher had a way acting out proper punctuation;I’m hungry. Let’s eat, Grandma. Vs. I’m hungry. Let’s eat Grandma! (Cue menacing voice and facial expression.) It was a great way of showing us how meaning was conveyed not just through words, but also through punctuation marks.


Darlene Peterson September 9, 2012 at 3:59 am

The teacher that inspired me most was my elementary music teacher. Her confidence in me made me the musician I am today.


Siiri September 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Yes, I had an English teacher who inspired me in many ways and she taught me a lot. I have had many English teachers since her in high school and last semester at Uni, but none of them even came close to having such a light, bubbly personality and a way to put people to listen to you. She was fab!


James Holyland September 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Mr Hunt my English teacher made Shakespeare interesting and understandable. He inspired me


DENISE W September 9, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Miss Thomas English she taught me to write and love poetry


Sarah Rees September 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm

For me it was my English teacher, he was so enthusiastic and passionate about the subject that it really was infectious to the rest of the class. I was devastated when I went on a school trip abroad to return and find he had died suddenly. I remember buying flowers for his widow, I just wanted to let her know how inspirational he had been.


Lisa Wilkinson September 11, 2012 at 6:46 am

Yes. My German teacher was very inspirational. She was quite strict but always encouraged us to achieve our targets. I ended up going to Uni to study German and got to live there for a while. I always wonder if I’d have done that without this teacher.


Kelly Hooper September 11, 2012 at 9:27 am

Unfortunately I cant remember the names of any of my teachers except my reception class teacher, so im guessing none of them inspired me that much :(


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[…] author of Night of Fire – Galaxy ExpressRowena Cory Daniells, author of Sanctuary – Book Chick CitySarah Beth Durst, author of Vessel – All Things Urban FantasySarah Rees Brennan, author of […]

Alison September 11, 2012 at 8:50 pm

I dont think any of them inspired me, I always thought they were my worst enemies when I was that age!


Angela Glynn September 11, 2012 at 10:15 pm

My ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level Chemistry teacher, Mr Vowles inspired me. He treated us like adults and put things in perspective so that, although he shared a love of the subject, he also made us realise that the world was bigger than our exams and that we could all achieve what we wanted if we really went for it. This was particularly useful as I had to go back and re-take my ‘A’ Level Chemistry to get into Uni to do the course I wanted!!!


Rowena Cory Daniells September 12, 2012 at 8:45 am

Thank you all for sharing your teachers.

For those of you who didn’t have a teacher who inspired you, that’s such a shame.

Like those of you who did, I had one teacher in high school who treated us like adults. Many years later when my first trilogy came out, I hunted her down through the Education system and wrote to her and sent a copy. She wrote back. She read my book while sitting beside her mother’s bed in hospital. She said it swept her away. I was glad, I’d contacted her.


Kristian September 14, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Mr Fee – Developed a lifelong interest in History


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