I didn’t actually start planning my latest series because I wanted to write a book. Instead, I was trying to refine search options so that I could find a book to read.

I reread all of the Harry Potter books earlier this year. I had forgotten how awesome they were. And of course after I finished them I wanted something else to read like that. But after shuffling through several different fantasy series, I found myself disappointed. Sure, these books had similarities to Harry Potter, but they didn’t have the… thing, whatever it was, that JK Rowling had. I wanted to figure out what that thing was. And I wanted to figure it out because I wanted something else to read.

So I began to formulate a theory. I theorized that the Harry Potter books were not good because of the plot or the characters per se. After all, “orphaned child discovers he has magical powers and realizes he must fight the big evil” is pretty cliché. (Star Wars anyone?) What was different about the Harry Potter books was the setting, I surmised. Hogwarts was absolutely the most awesome place ever. I wanted to live there. I wanted to get sorted into a house. I wanted to go to potions class. I wanted to have owls deliver my mail. The whole place was genius.

So I started looking for books with detailed settings. But I couldn’t find anything right. I did find some good books. Cinda Williams Chima is one of my new favorite authors. But the book I was looking for apparently didn’t exist. And so I said to myself, “Self, you’re just going to have to write it.”

I started by asking myself what would be the coolest place I could think of. Almost immediately, this came to me (and I’m copying directly from my notes): Ooh, like a constant music festival, where everyone lives in little tent enclaves and listens to music and hangs out all day. And they all make art and do cool creative things. And there’s no stupid outside world calling with responsibilities or anything like that. It’s just…awesome constantly.

Very rarely when I get an idea do I go with the first one that pops out of my head, but in this case, I was a roll. The next thing I asked myself was, “What is this place and why are the people there?”

My first idea? They could be the muses.

A little research showed me that the name of the muses’ place of dwelling was Helicon. And Helicon is the place that I’ve had an immense amount of fun creating for the past few months. It’s nothing like Hogwarts, but it is my dream world. It’s a place I wish existed. It’s a place I would like to live. And I hope that you will want to live there too.

Expect more about Helicon soon.