I’m intrigued by the things that inspire writers to write. For the past eighteen months, I’ve hosted other authors on my website, asking them what has inspired their story ideas and I’m delighted to be J’aimee’s guest today to talk about what inspires my writing. Thanks for hosting me, J’aimee!
First and foremost is travel. Places tantalise me and I imagine the people who live in and pass through the landscape. The richness of textures, the assault on my senses, the ‘high’ of what is almost sensory overload causes my synapses to party at the possibilities. Cultural differences and perspectives also offer rich fodder for creating conflict between protagonists. Both Engaging the Enemy, set in Melbourne, and One Night in Sorrento, set on the Amalfi Coast were the result of visiting those places.
Music has created several scenes in my work rather than an entire story. In White Ginger, my debut novel, I played two pieces for particular scenes. One was Etta James’s At Last for a slow dance at a country club party; the other was Il Divo’s The Man You Love. Mood is easy to establish with the right tempo playing in the background and I played these two on loop as I wrote their respective scenes. Perhaps it helps that I’m just a little in love with Carlos Marin whose voice introduces this song!
News stories often spark ideas for me too, far more than I could hope to write and maintain their currency. However, my current WIP is set in Nepal and began life as a different genre of story with a background of the Maoist party’s negative effects on the populace. It has morphed into a romantic suspense after another piece of news caught my eye.
You see, in the remote Dolpa region of Nepal, the Yarsagumba beetle (you will find several variations of spelling) contributes to a fungus that is harvested and sold to the Chinese for the making of aphrodisiacs. There is a heavily controlled ‘land rush’ approach to its collection, with families camping out and saving their meagre incomes to buy a permit to harvest the crop. It fired my imagination; I could not let that idea go and it is now the first in a two book series about twin sisters.
My next release is Engaging the Enemy through Escape Publishing. It began on my first tram ride in Melbourne when an abandoned red brick building caught my eye. While my husband and daughter fiddled with change for the tram ride, a series of questions whizzed through my brain; who would want this old building, what could it be used for, what if more than one person wanted it and so. Fighting to keep an apparently unloved building led to Andie and Matt’s story and the meeting that set the tone for what was to come:
Andrea de Villiers couldn’t have orchestrated the accident better if she’d planned for a year instead of just one night.
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were almost finished as she edged closer to the group of Melbourne’s wealthy charity patrons and supporters and lined up her tray of drinks with Matt Mahoney’s chest.
One second to launch.
She took a deep, steadying breath and stepped forward.
His blonde companion’s arms drew a giant circle in the air, collided with the edge of her tray and Mr. Mahoney, corporate developer and all round jerk, was instantly wearing expensive champagne as an accessory to his Armani dinner jacket.
Round one to Andie.
Served him right for refusing to meet her. He brushed futilely at his shiny lapels and a thrill raced through her.
I did it.
Andie-never-puts-a-foot-wrong-de Villiers had done the unthinkable. If only she could tell him who she was, her triumph would have been complete.
About the Author:
I love travel—new places, new faces, different cultures and endless possibilities. I’ve cruised from Australia to Britain and back through the Suez Canal when I was a child, trekked in Nepal and Vietnam, lived briefly in Noumea, visited western Europe and west coast America among other places. Let me repeat—I love travel! And history.
People’s stories fascinate me. Past and present lives and relationships and the mysterious ways Fate works. Even how I met my husband—Fate. Wonderful and mysterious.
And so my stories explore people engaging with the mate that Fate created for them. And the wonderful and mysterious ways in which they meet. I should probably thank the flat-mate who locked me out of my new house years ago which led directly to meeting my husband. But that’s another story!