Updated: Oct 24
The question I get asked the most as an author has to be:
‘Where do you get your inspiration?’
I’m going to attempt to answer it though it’s not clear cut. I’m lucky enough to be writing this blog from the cosy comfort of a little croft on the Isle of Mull, a favourite destination of mine and the setting for my first book series. As I was walking this afternoon, I was thinking about how this island had inspired my stories. Some of you may know that I didn’t write the books in the order of the series. I actually wrote book four first though it was very different from the finished result. That story was very much influenced by the island. I had a very specific idea to throw a hapless city dweller into countryside chaos with lots of specific places featuring in the story.
Beautiful places often inspire my writing and definitely inspire me to write.
It’s true to say then that I get my inspiration from places. I definitely feel inspired when I’m in calm and beautiful places. Not necessarily to write about where I am but because it puts me in a happy place in my mind.
My main inspiration however isn’t from places but people. I’m a habitual and fanatical people watcher. I love analysing people and wondering what makes them tick. On my walk today I made the mistake of wearing my sturdy walking boots. Why was that a mistake? Well, they’re not waterproof and the path was more like a river in places. So, I decided to hotfoot it back to the car and grab my wellies. I left my husband and son climbing rocks by the beach and I headed back. As I rounded a corner, I came upon a woman sitting on a boulder at the edge of the beach, just off the path, under some overhanging bushes with a book in her hand. It looked quite idyllic. The woman wasn’t reading the book, she was talking to someone I couldn’t see because of the bush. As I got closer, I saw the person was a man, wearing a wetsuit and a buoyancy aid. A kayak
was lodged in the rocks close to the water’s edge. I don’t know if these two people knew each other or had just struck up a random conversation, but the minute I saw them, my brain started making up a story. By the time I got back to the car and changed into my wellies, they both had their own backstories, conflicts and ways in which this ‘meeting of strangers’ could play out.
One day, it might be a book… Or not! Honestly I have so many of these random moments, I couldn’t possibly write them all into books. Most of them I forget but some of them make their way into notebooks or word files with quick notes about things I need to remember for later.
I also glean ideas from pictures. One of my favourite internet places is Pinterest. I can spend ages there looking at photos and often people and situations grow from these. I have boards for book inspiration plus boards for current works in progress.
People inspire me the most - real people, pictures of people, characters from films, other books and many other places. People, people, people!! People make stories.