As a writer, I’m often asked where I get my inspirations from. The simple answer is that inspirations come from everywhere! For me, usually a book will start out with just a simple idea or image. For my new book Finding Dreams, I was inspired when a real-life film scout came to a village near where I live looking at locations for a costume drama. The character’s situation came into my mind and I asked the question: what it would be like to be on the verge of losing everything, and have something completely random occur that changes the course of a life. After having the idea, I wrote a ten-page outline, and then began writing the book.
For my second book, Finding Secrets, I started with the idea of finding a piece of jewellery in the pocket of an old coat. What was it, what was its story, and where would it lead? I knew it would be linked to another image I had of a girl in the middle of the London Blitz catching snowflakes on her tongue. The rest of the book sort of evolved from there.
My first novel, Finding Home, was inspired by an old house my partner and I looked at when we were looking to move out of London. We both wanted an old house within an hour of the city, and that was about the only criteria. We were the laughing stock of Home County estate agents for about three years until we finally found somewhere. The house that inspired the book was a real Georgian house in a very bad state. It was well beyond anything we could ever hope to afford, but it was a lot of fun to go and have a look around.
It’s very exciting as a writer to have an idea that is strong enough eventually to become a book. When I first started writing, about twelve years ago now, I used to just get stuck in without taking care to make sure I actually had a plot. Sometimes, I did, and sometimes I didn’t. I have a lot of unpublished drafts on my computer of a lot of different things. Nowadays, I use a five step process to make sure that the ideas and inspirations are enough to work with:
Is there a concept with a hook?
Is there a character with a goal?
Is there a strong sense of time and place?
Is there a mounting conflict with something important at stake?
Is there a theme with a heart?
I hope that the answer to these questions are ‘yes’ and that I will continue to come up with ideas for books that people want to read. Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and if you do read Finding Dreams, please leave a review or a rating. I really do try to take comments on board, and I appreciate your support.
Finding Dreams is published by Aria Fiction on 1st March 2018.
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