5 Things That Inspire My Writing
2. Darkness. I love films, books, TV shows and music which explore the darker side of human nature. One of my all time favourite film makers is David Lynch and his incredible series Twin Peaks is a massive inspiration. Unfortunately, Bob is always lurking somewhere in my writing - I remember catching a glimpse of him onscreen as a teenager and I don't think I've ever got over it. In my writing I love exploring what lies hidden behind closed doors and revealing all the skeletons in the closets of my characters. I like observing or hearing about people who are different or who stand out for one reason or another, I'm particularly inspired if they scare me a little and I start imagining all kinds of dark secrets.
3. Genius. Reading has been one of the most important things in my life. Great writers are absolutely an inspiration and I get huge pleasure out of my other job as an English teacher. Studying the greats like Shakespeare and the Brontes, Fitzgerald and Thomas Hardy is like mining a never-ending treasure trove: the deeper you dig, the more is revealed. As a writer I've learned so much from reading widely. There are tons of literary allusions in Black Heart Blue - all totally deliberate. I'd love it if someone would spot them all! I'll read pretty much anything too, not just classics. I love YA and children's fiction, popular fiction, memoirs - the list goes on. As long as something is well written, I'll enjoy it. But what makes a book inspirational for me is if it's real - I don't mean true stories here, but rather fiction which grabs me and holds me and makes me feel an intensity of emotion that in our every day life we have to hide. Poetry inspires me too, which is why you'll find a quote from Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" in Black Heart Blue. I love poetic structures and the playfulness, elegance and beauty of language.
4. Good vibrations. When I'm writing, I'll sometimes listen to music to try and evoke the mood or feelings of the characters even more strongly. As with books, for music to inspire me it has to move me - when writing Black Heart Blue, there was a song which really spoke to me, in both melody and lyrics - I'm With God by The Cesarians. The uplifting and beautifully layered strings and horns epitomise for me Rebecca's triumph over her circumstances and the melancholy beauty of her character - something I was trying to capture in my writing. It also spoke to me of Hephzi's boldness and the bond between them. Since then I've heard the band playing live a couple of times and they put on a great show! But that song never fails to make my heart beat a bit faster.
5. Flower power. I love staring at the sea or the sky, the flatlands of the fens around where I live, or the mountains and hills of the south coast or Lake District. I'm not that great about adventuring around these places, but I totally get what the Romatic poets called the sublime. I wrote a book once (unpublished, I hasten to add) which began with a scene at the top of a moutain in The Lake District, and a little girl, dangerously climbing in wellies, walking into clouds and then slipping and tumbling into the arms of... (cliffhanger here!) and this was definitely inspired by the holidays my husband and children and I have had in that part of England. Not that we've made it up Helvellyn as yet!
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