MEET MY MUSE with Vanda Vadas
Seventeen years ago I had this crazy notion of writing an historical novel. The characters and plot flourished in my mind like flora as exotic as the story’s location. Now and then I’d sit in the study after my young children were in bed and tap away at the keyboard. I reached a point where I thought, Who are you kidding? You’ll never write a book, much less see it published. And so I gave the silly idea away. Besides, family life and my job kept me busy enough.
My muse wouldn’t have it! Wouldn’t accept my decision. In fact, she gave those characters a stronger, louder voice. She made the locales so vivid in my mind’s eye that I began to see each scene like a movie, and not always in logical sequence. Who was I to argue with my muse? I returned to the keyboard, spasmodically, and my inspirational characters: a pirate and a lady. To a story of revenge, betrayal, murder, and the inevitable blossoming of love.
A work related holiday just happened to be among the Caribbean Islands. How convenient was that? With a wink and a nudge my muse and I witnessed the perfect setting for one of the love scenes in my book: Emerald Pool on the island of Dominica. I added all my research notes, photos and videos to those I’d collected from holidays in the UK. I’ve walked along the craggy cliffs of Cornwall’s coastline, visited centuries-old English pubs, a palace and countless castles. All grist for the mill in creating fictitious dramas set against authentic historical and geographical backdrops.
Two years later I heard about, and joined RWAustralia, RWAmerica and a fabulous critique group, the Hearts of Gold, better known as the HOGs. I completed my historical manuscript and a contemporary novel followed. I entered my first contest and didn’t make it past the first round. I gradually tasted success with national, international and on-line competitions. Alas, my muse steered me back to my pirate and his lady, to fine-tuning their story and honing my craft. Then I dabbled with short stories on the side and had four of them published in RWAus Little Gems anthologies.
Yet again, my muse reined me in, turning my head in the direction of my historical until finally, finally, the planets aligned. I pitched to Literary Agent Alex Adsett at the RWAus conference last year. Alex believed in, and championed my novel to three of the top five Australian publishing houses and by Christmas Eve 2014, I’d received ebook offers from all three publishers!
My muse, it would seem, still had a point to prove. Several months ago I had cause to rummage through some boxes in our garage and I came across a stack of writing exercise books I’d kept from my primary school days when my family lived in New Guinea. Talk about a trip down memory lane! Anyone remember having to cover their books with brown paper, glue a picture on the front and add your name and grade? And what about those 1-inch margins executed with a red pen and a wooden ruler?
I flicked through the pages of my Grade Four ‘Composition Book’ and was astonished to lay eyes on a poem I’d written and had long since forgotten about. I stared at my hand-writing, that of a nine-year-old, with a mixture of wonderment and complete shock.
You see, this poem was about a pirate. I’d even drawn a pirate ship! It triggered memories and though I recalled writing the words and drawing the picture, I had absolutely no recollection as to the source of its inspiration. We didn’t have a TV, so perhaps a book or comic had stirred my imagination. To this day I just don’t know why a pirate had been my subject of choice.
Furthermore, how could it be that decades later I would title my debut novel, above all else, THE PIRATE LORD? If that’s not enough to send shivers up and down your spine then take another look at my gorgeous book cover, courtesy of Penguin Random House Australia (cue the music from The Twilight Zone). There, looming in the background over my heroine’s shoulder, is a pirate ship! My muse and I can’t stop grinning.
When it comes to writing I trust, unconditionally, my muse. She’s been there with me from the start, whether I realised it or not; consciously, subliminally or otherwise. My muse thrives on music just as a flower seeks the sun. The emotion in each note is what helps me to set a scene’s tone and determines the mindset of my characters and their forward journey.
Currently, my muse is leading me up a Scottish highland path to a place I’ve journeyed several times. I might discover yet why she leads me there. Time will tell. Until then I trust you will enjoy reading my debut novel, THE PIRATE LORD.
The Pirate Lord
Can love for his beautiful, aristocratic captive rescue Miles from his lust for revenge?
A family tragedy steeped in deceit and betrayal saw Lady Eloise Blakely vow never to fall victim to a man’s charms, let alone invite him into her bed. Until fate swept her aboard a pirate’s ship and into its captain’s embrace.
Yet when he reveals a dark secret, her lover becomes her enemy…
Ten years ago, Miles Zachary Fenton was framed for murder. For so long he has fought to clear his name and reclaim his dukedom. Now, when both appear to be just within reach, he is forced to abduct a meddling beauty, one who wreaks havoc with his emotions and complicates his plans…