I was in Siena and decided I wanted to write a story set there. Then I discovered that the original story of Romeo and Juliet was set in Siena. It occurred to me that this was too much of a gift - I had to do it. That's how I ended up writing a parallel story to Romeo and Juliet.
Even as I pursued a doctorate in the history of ideas in my native Denmark, I realized I had neither the encyclopedic training nor the passion for cool logic - not to mention the nerve - to follow in the footsteps of classical liberal philosophers and economists such as Robert Nozick, Friedrich Hayek, and Milton Friedman.
When I was trying to figure out how the government might go about creating the camps in 'The Darkest Minds,' I researched the Japanese internment camps here in the United States, specifically propaganda the government used, and how they capitalized on people's fears.
From the time I was in first grade or so, my dad collected 'Star Wars' toy figures from the 1970s and '80s, and we'd take weekend family trips to antique shops and to toy stores. My father collected a crazy amount of 'Star Wars' stuff over the years, and he and I traveled to many conventions.