The clichéd question that every writer gets asked is “where do you get your ideas from?” Well, I’m not sure, but for the last few weeks the ideas haven’t really been flowing freely. In fact, this was the third attempt to write this story. I started off thinking I’d bring back Mr Munro of the antique shop, but re-reading Elkwood just made me want to fix the problems I saw in that story. Besides which, I couldn’t then think of a decent scenario to use them in. So that was enough of that one.

The next attempt to write it was actually a resurrection of the very first idea that I came up with. I won’t expound on that one as yet, for the simple reason that I probably will end up writing it before the year is out and I don’t want to give any spoilers out. But suffice to say that this time I didn’t even get as far as the first time, and that was particuarly galling.

In a bad mood, I ended up some time on Friday evening trying to come up with something. Finally, I came up with the title, and the rest – as often seems to happen with me – flowed naturally.

For this one, I actually had to do a bit of research, although I did still want to preserve my ignorance and give a kind of “fairy tale” feeling to it. (Whether that was a success, I’ll leave for you to decide.) I’ve linked a couple of articles that might interest you at the end of this post, if you want to read a bit more into lion taming.

The idea of wanting to be a lion tamer simply based on the Monty Python “careers advisor” sketch was an odd one. The fact that anyone old enough to have seen the original TV version in 1970 and changed career based on that would have been coming to around retirement age when lion taming was finally taken “out of service” in the UK in 2015 was fortuitous timing for me. (Although I should be saying “lion training”, shouldn’t I? I do apologise, profusely.)

Perhaps this one is a bit more sentimental than some of the others? Yes, perhaps. I’m trying to experiment a little with genres, if I can. Having done three crime stories in a row, something different felt a little more fresh. In the three months that I’ve been doing this project, I have written about monsters, murder, a sentient car, even a story set in a fantasy universe, stories set in Paris (well, in a front room in Paris, anyway), and even one about an American shopping mall. So far, I’ve enjoyed writing them, although the results seem to be a little variable, and looking back some of the stories I felt were high points feel like low points, and vice versa.

But there’s another thirty-nine stories to go before the year is over, and I hope you’ll keep reading them, and that you’ll have as much fun reading them as I did writing them.

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The post “Behind The Scenes: Leo’s Last Show” first appeared on and is Copyright © Simon Collis 2018. All rights reserved.

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