5 things that inspired The Mapmaker Chronicles

Posted on August 11, 2014

mapmakerchroniclesWhile I’m busy behind the scenes (with my fabulous behind-the-scenes team) preparing for the launch of  The Mapmaker Chronicles website very soon, I thought I would share some of the things that inspired me to write the series.

I’ll save the full story of that lightning bolt moment where I thought ‘that’s it! that’s the book’ for a day closer to the launch date, but these are some of my strange little passions that all came together in this book.

Antique maps. I love them. The older the better. I love them as much for what is not there as for what is. I love the little drawings of sea monsters and mermaids and multi-masted ships with billowing sails. I went to Canberra earlier this year to visit the Mapping Our World exhibition and, while it didn’t help with books one to three (which had already been written and/or imagined and vaguely outlined), it gave me much food for thought for potential books four to six.

2. The stars. We are fortunate to live under a big sky. At night, it’s a big, dark sky strewn with stars and possibilities.

3. Ancient books. I love those old, illuminated manuscripts. The Builder and I went to Dublin a few years ago to see the Book of Kells. Shuffling along in a huge queue to look at the two richly decorated pages of vellum that were open on that particular day. I would have liked to have buried myself in that Old Library and dived in. They are mind-blowing in their colour and detail. So very, very beautiful.

4. Gardening. I have written a lot on this blog about my garden. My Facebook friends may well have become sick of my rose pictures. But, for me, the link between time spent in the garden and productive writing time is clear. I do my best thinking while I weed (fortunately for me…). Also, plants. Plants are fascinating when you get right down to it.

5. My boys and their books. We read a lot of books in this house. Together, separately. Common threads in the books we love are adventure, humour and quests. We love a good quest round these parts. And an occasional battle.

Have you got a strange little passion (or two)? Do share!

A L Tait The Fire StarAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of two epic middle-grade adventure series, The Mapmaker Chronicles and The Ateban Cipher, and a new ‘almost history’ detective series called the Maven & Reeve Mysteries (you’ll find book #1 THE FIRE STAR here).

You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.


  1. Hamish Blair

    Maps, I love them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, to many exclamation marks!!

    • Allison Tait

      Personally, I don’t think there’s ever such a thing as too many exclamation marks!!!! (Did you know that newspaper editors call them ‘screamers’?)

  2. Rita @ The Crafty Expat

    One of my favorite thing is actually to know what is the inspiration behind a story/book! Totally agree with you about gardening. For me, knitting is a good way to find inspiration too. There is something about repeating the same stitches again and again.

    • Allison Tait

      I tried knitting once. I still have that half a scarf somewhere… 🙂

  3. Maxabella

    Your passions are not strange to me at all. They are all fascinating things! My odd little likes include brown paper, natural objects (god help me, I can’t use that term ‘found’) and things made of metal. x

    • Allison Tait

      Oh, I love brown paper too. And things that one happens across (not found, not at all…)

  4. Chris Bailey

    Oooh, oooh, all those things! Plus nautical charts and birds. Be sure to post the link to the new web site when it’s ready!

    • Allison Tait

      Will do Chris!

  5. Kirsty

    The Book of Kells is amazing – so richly detailed – and old maps are so fascinating. I love seeing how the world was imagined and re-imagined through the ages. With these influences I’m very much looking forward to your books coming out – getting closer to the first in the series!

    • Allison Tait

      It’s certainly getting closer! Look out for the website very soon. 🙂

  6. Sam Stone

    I love the Book of Kells! So so wonderful.
    I also love maps. I used to make treasure maps when I was younger.

    • Allison Tait

      Oh yes! I love a good treasure map!

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