Occasionally, I take inspiration from my life for my stories. The below quote about bugs from book nine, The Three R’s of Genie Whispering, is one of them. 


I don’t know about your own experience in your families, but so many times I’ve walked into a room and picked out a bug that none of my family noticed. They used to accuse me of looking for them, but while I’m not a fan of bugs, I’m not so afraid of them that I have to scan a room for any before I can relax. It’s the different color and movement that catches my eye. The wall isn’t supposed to have a little black spot over there, after all. 

My family’s accusations led me to believe that there are just some people where this (color/movement on the wall and ceiling) catches their attention and some people who are oblivious to it, and I decided to give this same belief to Gary. So while he has super spy powers with being able to turn himself into tiny insects, he also has a bit of a fear of whether or not anyone around is one of those people who spots bugs without even trying. 

Also related to bugs, the inspiration for Ali’s fear of them came from my own fear of bugs, which is much less than it was when I was a teenager. But I may or may not still go get my big sister, who lives next door, when I find a ridiculously large bug in the house . . . (Though one time a spider was so big she went and got her husband, who swore at seeing it, which made me feel better about calling for back-up.) 

My grandma was also skilled in this ancient art of bug sighting, so perhaps I come by it naturally. (Though we also shared the same fear, so maybe there’s just a touch of paranoia about bugs that leads to this skill after all.)