Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.

~C.S. Lewis

Where does a retired cop go to find enough inspiration to write thrillers? The land of Narnia, of course.


When I was a kid my favorite books were The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. While I don’t write in the fantasy genre, I’m still inspired by the creative world of Narnia. And all I needed to get there was a wardrobe.

The large hickory wardrobe in the upstairs of our Ohio farmhouse, serves as my office and our library. A little cramped, you say? Not at all. Just take a look inside…

My Narnia

Sorry, that’s not far enough. You have to grab a fake fur coat, (I’m too cheap to buy Gloria a real one) and walk through the wardrobe to enter into the world of Narnia.

Now we’re getting somewhere.

You can see Aslan above the fireplace, and the lamp post just to his side in the photo below. The idea to create the Narnia themed room goes to my daughter, Nadia. Though, she did not show up to help with the physical labor to create it.

Why the treadmill and bicycle desks? I had blood clot issues a few years back, so I try not to sit in one position for long periods of time. Plus I need the exercise. And I’ve found that the desks are also great for piling clothes and clutter on top of. Dual purpose!

The top of the office is wrapped with posters from my favorite movies and television shows. It’s the characters from those stories that give me a creative spark when I need one.

The bookshelves may look full, but don’t be deceived. Most of those are my wife’s romance novels. I just wanted to fill out the shelves and make myself look smart.

Why all the firepower in the gun cabinet? I’m a farm boy from the Midwest. I grew up hunting, enlisted into the Army infantry, and served as a police officer. Firearms have been a daily part of my life since…

Well, you get the idea.

Most of the weapons you see in the gun cabinet are hunting rifles and shotguns, handed down to me from my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. They are family heirlooms-whatever that may tell you about my upbringing.

The colorful Post-it notes on the wall are scenes for my next book, Joining The Pack. I divided a whiteboard into four sections to create my storyboard.

Why do I need an outline? I’m a former soldier and retired police officer-I need a plan to do just about anything in life. That includes writing a novel. This board is where that plan starts. Then I move the story to a computer and start building the scenes out from there.

Don’t get me wrong, people like Lee Child, who write from the seat of their pants impress me. But I’m not one of them. I would get lost in the first chapter without an outline.

R.H. Neil Author of Becoming The Wolf