Kalliope lives with one purpose.
As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.
Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.
Her presence may inspire genius.
But it breeds madness, too.
Cora Carmack and Wilder Bell talk about the setting of Inspire
Hi Guys! Cora Here! When I sat down to write Inspire, I did a lot of thinking about where this story should take place. Greece felt appropriate, but too obvious. I considered other major cities like New York, London, or Paris, but I feel like those cities (New York especially) get a lot of love in the Urban Fantasy genre. Mostly because it’s more believable that a city that large would have some kind of crazy, cool supernatural connection. Those cities are also known as hubs for artists, which makes sense for a book about a muse. But those choices just felt too obvious to me. But since I was trying to squeeze this book between my other contracted books, I didn’t have time for a lot of research (be it electronic or a trip) to do justice to some other city.
So, finally, I turned to Austin. I grew up in Texas. I live part of the year just outside Austin and part of the year in New York. But it felt almost like cheating to place a story so close to home (especially when I already have the Rusk University series in which Texas is featured prominently). But the more I brainstormed, the more it didn’t make sense to set this book anywhere else. Because simply put… Austin is inspired. It’s this odd mix of small town and big city. It’s eclectic and strange and a haven not just for actors and musicians, but artists of all kinds. The weirder the better. Austin is a place where everybody fits. Including an immortal, mythical figure like Kalliope. So, I decided to set the book in Austin and never looked back. And now I’ll let my favorite book boyfriend, Wilder (a native Austinite), tell you what he loves about the city.
Wilder Bell’s Five Things to love about Austin:
1. The Whole Thing.
That might seem kind of obvious, but really it’s the big picture of Austin that makes it so fantastic. It’s the capitol of Texas, so it has that big city vibe. But there’s also a lot of country in this city. With a lake running right through downtown and incredible green spaces inside the city limits, it’s absolutely the best of both worlds.
You can hang out in Zilker Park or go kayaking on Lady Bird Lake or take a dip in the natural Barton Springs pool (pictured above), and then hit downtown for great food and awesome nightlife.
2. Speaking of Downtown, that’s definitely something you have to experience. There’s the infamous Sixth Street (Dirty Sixth, as some call it).
Roads are blocked off on the weekends so that partiers can walk through the streets while they visit various bars and music venues. You’re likely to catch sight of the Austin Police Department’s special Mounted Patrol as they trot by on horseback in case anything gets out of hand. Beyond sixth though, there are fabulous acclaimed restaurants downtown and hole-in-the-wall, unique places with food so good you’ll be tempted to eat twice. You can drop by Congress Bridge around sundown to see the city’s huge bat population take off into the night sky, then keep heading south for the So-Co district. There you’ll find everything from cool vintage shops to food trucks to art galleries and music venues.
(This frog is one of my favorite things about Austin….and just one of my favorite things, period. I’m doing well, frog, thank you for asking.)
3. The people of Austin are definitely one of the city’s highlights.
They’re quirky and odd and compassionate. Some are famous. Some are infamous. We’re the city that can claim everyone from Sandra Bullock to Matthew McConaghey to Willie Nelson.
(Alright! Alright! Alright!)
You’ve got Leslie Cochran, the homeless man beloved by the city who was an activist, a cross dresser, and mayoral candidate (he came in second). When Leslie passed away in 2012, the city mourned and hundreds showed up for a funeral for the man without a home.
Austin is home to major Tech corporations and artists and politicians. It’s home to conservatives and liberals. And despite the tremendous diversity of the city, it’s a place that everyone can comfortably call home thanks to the live and let live attitude that’s the unspoken law of the land. And as they say, Keep Austin Weird.
4. The arts. You might know Austin for its giant music and film festivals. Austin City Limits. South by Southwest.
It is the Live Music capital of the world. Those festivals without a doubt bring some incredible creative personalities to Austin, but there are just as many amazing things going on year round. Incredible concerts (both tours and local bands). Hell, you’re likely to hear some great music from some random person busking on a corner downtown. You can go see a play. Indie film screenings. Check out some art (both in galleries and just public art around town). Like the “You’re my butter half” mural.
Or that statue of Willie Nelson. (I mentioned Austin is weird, right?)
5. The Food. Here’s what you need to know: Breakfast Tacos. Barbecue. Queso.
Hit up Torchy’s Tacos in the morning.
Wait in line for a few hours to grab lunch at Franklin’s Barbecue (no, seriously… hours. It really is that good. Sometimes they have to put the “sold out” sign up before the restaurant is even open for business because the line is already so long that they’re pretty much guaranteed to run out of food).
Maybe catch a movie at night and order dinner right there in front of the big screen at Alamo Drafthouse. And then hit Kerbey Lane after hours for queso. All the queso.
There’s a lot more to love about Austin. Like the bluebonnets. UT sports. Chicken shit bingo. But these are my favorites. You know… in case you want to visit.
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