GUEST POST: Dance, Monkey, Dance by Keira Michelle Telford

Inspiration: where do you get yours? I used to joke that I had a monkey who would dance for me when I was feeling creatively deadlocked. Of course, that’s not true. Monkeys have a tendency to throw their feces at you, and that’s just not something I need in my life right now. I already have an incontinent guinea pig, and there’s nothing particularly inspirational about that.

So, instead of employing a monkey to entertain me, I try to find inspiration in more every day things. Like: movies, TV, music, and books. Quite simply, appreciating the art of others inspires me to work on my own art—The SILVER Series: a ten-book, dystopian adventure series, chronicling the (fictional) life of Ella ‘Silver’ Cross.

I watch several movies a month, have a handful of TV must-sees always scheduled on my PVR, and I listen to music while I write. But since I spend so much of my time writing, I don’t get a lot of opportunity to read. Like many other writers I’ve spoken to, I don’t like to read while I’m in the midst of writing a book in case I become too influenced by the work. Despite that, over the years, I’ve acquired a few solid favorites. In no particular order, here are my top five:

Fyodor Dostoevsky – Crime & Punishment
Justifiable homicide is a central theme in this book, and it’s one that I’ve explored myself in The SILVER Series. It’s a tough read, I’ll admit. The language is formal, and won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s a well-spun tale of murder, guilt, and internal torment. Some of Silver’s experiences might well be compared to those of Raskolnikov, Crime & Punishment’s morally-distressed protagonist. In Acheron, Maydevine convinces Silver that murder can be justifiable. In The Lost & Damned, she puts that to the test when she sets her mind to kill the city’s corrupt Governor. In A New Age Dawns, she might just go too far.

Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy 
To be fair, Inferno is my favorite part of this book. I don’t care so much for Purgatory or Paradise. The nine circles of hell fascinate me. In fact, references to Inferno can be found scattered throughout my work, not least of which is in the title of my first novel—Acheron. The river of pain leads to hell, and after traversing it, Virgil leads Dante on a tour of hell’s nine circles: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery. This latter circle, the deepest in hell and reserved for traitors, plays an ongoing—albeit subtle—part in my work. When we first meet Silver, she’s just been banished for treason. That makes her a traitor, and would relegate her to the ninth circle. Links back to this—and to Inferno in general—can be found in chapter headings, dialogue, and even in the book’s epigram. And no, that’s not a typo in Maydevine’s last line of dialogue at the end of chapter ten...

Emilie Autumn – The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls
A self-pressed, semi-autobiographical novel by the Victoriandustrial musician, Emilie Autumn. It’s kind of graphic and brutal in a here’s-my-bleeding-heart sort of way. It deals with issues like bi-polar disorder, suicide, self-harm, sexual abuse, and rape. It’s dark, gritty, and pulls no punches in its vivid depictions of mental illness. Emilie Autumn might not be the most sophisticated writer, but you won’t really notice the weaknesses in her punctuation because you’ll be too absorbed in the horrors of her life. The book is littered with song lyrics, diary excerpts, and pictures—illustrations by EA herself, and photographs. It’s a fascinating read, and you might be disturbed to learn just how little the mental health system has changed from the Victorian era up till now. And, in the end, that’s her point.

Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion
This is the only non-fiction entry on my list. What I love about Richard Dawkins, is that he explains science in a way that makes it palatable for the masses. Even a layperson is able to digest the science of evolution, natural selection, and other biological processes, through his detailed explanations of them. I love science, and I fail to understand how any person living in the modern age can refute it. And since science (particularly biology) plays a huge part in my work, I make it my business to read as many of these books as possible. I’m still struggling with string theory, though. And the concept of non-linear time is still a hard one for me to grasp. However, the instant I learned that a single electron can be in two places at the same time (bi-location), and that it’s scientifically plausible that, at any given moment, you are simultaneously everywhere you could possibly be... well, let’s just say that it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for the future of The SILVER Series. Quite literally.

Samuel Beckett – Waiting for Godot
I don’t know if this technically counts as a book, since it’s a play, but when I first found out about it, I read it in book format. I still have it on my bookshelf. It’s personal to me because it reminds me of a time in my life when I was living in rural Wales with my father. I was sixteen years old, and our daily life bore a striking resemblance to the perpetual routine of nothingness endured by Dede and Gogo on that desolate mountaintop. For me, Waiting for Godot perfectly encapsulates the futility of our existence. You can’t make sense of it, because there’s no sense to be made. It brings to my mind the last lines from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, written by Richard O’Brien: “And crawling on the planet’s face, some insects called the human race. Lost in time, and lost in space. And meaning.”.


Born and raised in Britain, Keira moved to British Columbia, Canada in 2006. She now shares a townhouse on the west coast with her husband and 9 guinea pigs, yes 9 guinea pigs.

Author of the post-apocalyptic romance novels called Silver.

The world might end, but love endures.

Visit Keira's websites at:


SILVER: Acheron (A River of Pain) by Keira Michelle Telford

Dishonorably discharged from the Hunter Division and banished for crimes she did not commit, Silver struggles to come to terms with her new prison-like surroundings: a segregated area of the city called the Fringe District, populated by murderers, thieves and rapists. 

Starving, and desperate for money, she reluctantly accepts the Police Division's invitation to enroll in a covert Bounty Hunter program: an initiative devised to infiltrate the criminal underworld of the Fringers, and to force the very worst warrant dodging law-breakers to meet their fate—death.

Unfortunately, Silver doesn't realize that the Police Division is about to up the ante. They need more than little snippets of information and arrests—they need someone to pull the trigger.

They need an executioner.


Don't forget to check out the details of where Keira will be next.


  1. I Haven't read any of the books on Keira's list, but I am thinking that maybe I should. She does make them sound more appealing than I thought they would be!

    Thoroughly enjoyed Acheron and am now waiting for Lost and Damned.


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