Inspirations for the Interns of Magic Engineering Series

Hi everyone! I’m so glad you’re all enjoying the new Interns of Magic Engineering series! I’m wrapping up book 2 and thought it would be fun to share the inspiration behind the series. 

Sometimes I worry about showing people what’s under the hood. I don’t know if you’ll find it interesting or think of me as a hack. But there’s only one way to find out, so let’s do it!

I actually didn’t come up with the Interns world on my own. The high-level concept was co-created with a friend. Originally, we were going to write the books together. The characters and general idea were developed a couple of years ago through a series of hilarious chats. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to align schedules and commitments, and we couldn’t write them together, so I made the world my own.

The World, AKA our Quirky Corporate Environment

The overall world was inspired by an incredibly funny TV show called Better Off Ted. If you aren’t familiar with the show, then I recommend you make yourself familiar, because it’s hilarious! The show takes place inside the office building of a company with questionable morals. The company makes products for various customers, including the government. The team is managed by the titular character, Ted, and there are scientists on the team who make questionable products for said questionable company. I especially loved the wacky scientists on the team. 

Our Leading Lady, AKA Charlie

Protagonists are a little tricky for me because I largely write comedic fantasy. That means the main character can’t be a skilled badass. (Side note: Some people say the definition of humorous fantasy is “too stupid to live,” often shortened to “TSTL”, but I personally believe TSTL is a subgenre of humorous fantasy. Not all comedic fantasy protagonists are like that.) Anyway, I wanted someone funny, but not in the TSTL category. During one of the humorous chats with my friend, the idea of the office interns was tossed out. I liked the potential. Interns aren’t total idiots, but they lack practical knowledge—someday they might be badasses, but at this point in time they aren’t. We had a good laugh about the many possibilities of the office interns. And the rest is history.

The Plot for Book 1, A Master of Magical Machinery

For the books themselves, I didn’t want to languish over the plots like I did with Kari Hunter books, which are more organically developed. (You’d be surprised at how much time I spend developing the Kari Hunter plots.) For the interns, I was admittedly stressed about having to write them with another person, and didn’t want to make my friend suffer through a longer process. So, I suggested we just list all of our favorite books and movie plots, pick a few, and use them as the main inspirations for each book.

You’re probably thinking that this sounds like a total “hack” thing to do. While a part of me is ashamed to admit I used this method, I’m sure I didn’t come up with the idea on my own. Other writers probably do this. I’m sure I heard it somewhere and my brain pulled it from the depths of my memory. I’m actually really happy with how the first book turned out. For book 1, the plot that spoke to me the loudest was…


You see the resemblance now, don’t you? A group of mercenaries who raid an office building and break into the vault. Only in the Interns of Magic Engineering, there’s no capable, gun-toting New York cop. The interns are the only ones who can save the day.

That Special Something…

While I was really excited about book 1’s plot, while writing the first draft, I still felt like something was missing. An important element of some kind—like a crazy side-plot character. After thinking about it for a long, long time, I remembered an old John Cusack movie from the ‘80s (I’m dating myself here). In the movie, John Cusack’s character is pursued by a very eccentric and determined paper boy who wants his money for the paper delivery. He’s hilarious and relentless, and he shows up in the most unexpected places, always shouting his catchphrase, “I want my two dollars!” 

Unfortunately, I knew I couldn’t have an extra human in the story because everyone (except the interns and Aiken) was a hostage. So, I thought, what do big office buildings have? I work in one of those, after all, so I should know. I listed a few options and landed on… vending machines. A crazy talking vending machine.

And Sporky was born. I went back and rewrote book 1 with Sporky in the mix. 

Coming Soon: Book 2

So, you’re probably wondering, what about book 2? Did I follow the same plotting method and choose a story as my primary inspiration? I sure did, and I’m not sorry. For book 2, my loose inspiration is… Ghostbusters


A Madhouse of Magical Malfunction is out March 13! Pre-order your copy right now!

Hope you enjoyed Interns inspirations! For more more book extras and fun stuff, subscribe to my blog here:

Published by Jen Kirchner

I write funny things.

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