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Sam Copeland: Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

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This is the most common question I get from children when I visit schools – and it’s actually an
incredibly difficult one to answer.

Of course, the obvious place I get ideas from is stealing them from children when I visit schools.
Nobody ever believes children when they try and say that my ideas were actually theirs – so it’s the
perfect crime.

When I’m not stealing ideas from children, where do I get them from? Sometimes thinking of ideas is
plain, hard work. People sometimes see me in front of my laptop, eyes closed, thinking VERY HARD
for AGES. You relax, slow your breathing down and try and let your imagination flow. Don’t rush it –
you can’t rush ideas. Some ideas will come but they might not be the right ones. Wait for the right
one to come. Remember – authors have a long time to think of ideas for books.

Sometimes, ideas are sparked by real life. My latest book is about an Artificial Intelligence that can
answer any question in the world – even impossible ones. This was inspired by my son, who kept
asking Alexa all sorts of impossible questions that Alexa couldn’t possibly answer, and that sparked
that central question in my mind: what would happen if Alexa COULD answer everything? So look
around you for inspiration.

Sometimes ideas come when you least expect them, and at inconvenient times. When you are in the
shower, when you are falling asleep, when you are on the loo. So try and relax and trust that the
ideas will come.

And that’s key: trust in yourself. The ideas are in there somewhere. You just need to find the right
way to allow them to bubble up to the surface. Allow time and space and silence (or music if you
prefer!) for your imagination to run free, and the ideas will come.


This post was written by Sam Copeland for Just Imagine.

Charlie Morphs into a Mammoth is published by Penguin Random House on 6th February 2020.

This the third hilarious adventure for Charlie McGuffin, the boy who changes into animals when he gets nervous. Charlie McGuffin is an actual superhero. He’s gained control over his wacky ability to change into animals – he’s even able to use it to turn the tables on school bully Dylan.
But there are some things Charlie can’t control, like the arguments his parents keep having (which are making him more worried than ever) or the mysterious animal disappearances spreading through town (which might be connected to Charlie himself). Can Charlie unravel the mystery of the pet-nappings before his biggest secret is revealed to the world…?