Inspiration - writers draw it from many different ways, included from muses. I love my muse, in the strictly platonic sense. She is there, cattle prod in hand, demanding more chapters of my work. She is there, inspiring me to write for her, create characters and scenes that will make her laugh and smile.
I was already writing when I met my muse, but it was some very poorly written plays and some short stories. And I wasn't thinking about writing a novel and getting it published. We clicked immediately and became close friends - bonding over our joint enjoyment of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Jane Austen movies.
I wrote Mishca, it was with the desire to entertain her. It made my day listening to her dissect my story, connect with my characters and laugh at the insider jokes I had planted for her. Being a writer for a living was a far off daydream, but she encouraged me to dream bigger and then bugged me to try and get Mishca published.
But it wasn't all just ego stroking. She challenged me as well for things like when character behaviours had ramifications beyond what I had thought of. Quite simply, she made me a better writer.
When I decided to rehash a Australian mythology concept I had a few years ago into a series about an Australian environmental consultant who was part mermaid, my muse came into play again - inspiring me.
If I land a publishing deal I will be dedicating Mishca to her as I am positive I would not have finished it without her. She influenced my characters, she inspired parts of the story, she encouraged me to keep writing and lifts me up when I loose faith in myself. But she refuses to be fully acknowledge. I am only allowed to call my muse publicly "She-who-must-not-be-named" (did I mention we also bonded over Harry Potter).
To say she is a devourer of the written word would be an understatement. I am hoping that in the case of Mishca, it is proven once more that she has great taste in books.