The first inkling of this book started when I was in Grade 12 and had the chance to go to a writer's seminar at Somerset College with some of my Senior English classmates. I was lucky enough to do a workshop with the wonderful author Colleen McCullogh on creating ideas. Colleen had brought with her a basket of various items we were to use as props. Everyone selected an item and wrote a brief story outline inspired by what they'd chosen. My object was a shiny black stone that got warm very quickly. As Colleen passed it to me she said, 'It takes on heat so fast. I wonder what else it could take...' and straight away I thought, what's the worst thing to be taken from you? How about... your soul?

During that class I invented Aurasius, the dragon soul-stealer, with the first part of his name being 'Aura' because that's the part of his victims he could sense, and steal. The original idea was far from what it came to be, starting out with a teenage girl tracking down Aurasius after he'd killed everyone in her village. The idea petered out like hundreds I'd had before, and I never finished it.

Years later I was doing a Professional Children's Writing Course through the Australian College of Journalism (now Cengage Education), and one of the assignments was to draft the outline of a children's novel. The idea of the evil dragon with the heart of stone kept niggling at me, so I re-drafted it with a child as the main character - a child of our own world, thrown into a magic world where earth's fantasy characters came from. I have always been fascinated with mythological beasts and creatures, and especially the fact that during the middle ages, these creatures were truly thought to be real. I began to play with the idea that maybe these creatures - dragons and mermaids and centaurs - had in fact walked among us, and there was some terrible reason they'd all disappeared. Soon the idea of a rift between the two worlds - Esmorde and us, the 'otherworld', began to form, with the former remaining pure and wild, while we sank lower into war, pollution and technological advancement.

So now I had a setting, a main character, and a villain... all I needed was a goal for my main character to work towards - with plenty of obstacles along the way, of course. And so Auraisius' Curse to End the World was created... and the rest of the plot... well... I'll let you find that out for yourself :)

On to Belly Button Fluff

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