Penny Dreadful

I’ve just returned from a family reunion in Belfast and Dublin and everywhere I went there were reminders of how many great authors and poets have come from the green isles. You could be walking down a street and find a quote from work by Yeats or Oscar Wilde, to name but two, and I found it extremely inspirational.

Some of the places I visited gave me loads of ideas for my next series of books and it goes to show that you can get inspiration from almost anywhere, if only you take the time to look.

Dublin Castle was one such place. I didn’t go inside, it was the events unfolding in the courtyard that caught my attention. There were roped-off areas with old fashioned market stalls; some were the type that were on wheeled carts and others were static. As I looked around at the ‘wares’ it felt like I’d stepped back in time and it was a strange sensation. Suddenly I was in Victorian London and all around me were people dressed from that era. As I stared, drinking in the sights, I could picture certain scenes for my Seven Doors series and I couldn’t wait to write it down.

But what was happening there? Was it an exhibition the castle had staged? No. The reason certain areas were roped off was because an episode of the TV series, Penny Dreadful, was being filmed (although I didn’t realise that until I saw actress Billie Piper dressed in Victorian finery and boom mikes and camera equipment being wheeled or carried into the courtyard).

Rehearsal before filming

Rehearsal before filming

Actresses on the Swing Boats

Actresses on the Swing Boats

Billie Piper waiting for rehearsals to start

Billie Piper waiting for rehearsals to start

Part of the market scenery which sparked my imagination

Part of the market scenery which sparked my imagination

One of the cars used to ferry people to the set had this on their dashboard. This might seem like a stupid photo to take but it's all part of the memory.

One of the cars used to ferry people to the set had this on their dashboard.
This might seem like a stupid photo to take but it’s all part of the memory.

I took a few photos (as you do) and on the bus back to the hotel I took out my little pad and scribbled notes about the objects and scenes which had most inspired me. I know at least some of it will appear in one of the books in my upcoming Seven Doors series, but it certainly won’t be in the first one.

It certainly proves the point about inspiration. You never know what’s around to ignite that spark which sends your imagination into overdrive. So open your eyes, take the time to look around you, and make sure you have a pad and pen handy!

Advertisements

Be Prepared To Be Amazed

A couple of months ago, I was asked by my good friend, J. R. Wagner, to write a guest post for his blog. I came up with the idea of writing about inspiration and where I get some of mine from and would like to share this with you:

Writers are often asked where they get their inspiration from and every one of us has our own sources.

I write Fantasy. My love affair with this genre began when I was quite young and has continued through the years. It began with stories written by Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm and grew from there. I was the proverbial bookworm as a child and nothing has really changed.

I was inspired by the wonderful worlds created by the books I read and began composing my own short stories and fairy tales before my age reached double figures. That inspiration has stayed with me, but these days I find inspiration in a number of different ways.

People watching can provide a rich source for creativity. Whether you’re on a bus or plane, sitting in a café, shopping or just walking down the street, there are some amazing characters around that you can incorporate into your writing. It might be the way someone walks, the way they dress, their mannerisms or even their turn of phrase. Sometimes a line from a song can trigger inspiration as well as films, novels (of course), conversations and new places.

Going somewhere new will usually prove a source of inspiration, but where you go can have a dramatic effect on you. This can best be demonstrated by a short mid-week break I took back in September to Dublin. Apart from being a fantastic city to visit, with lovely friendly inhabitants, not to mention the rich literary heritage, the folklore of the country is fascinating.

Everyone has heard of leprechauns and they are synonymous with the Irish. They are portrayed as little men dressed in green, carrying a wonky walking stick and hiding their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. On my trip I decided to find out a little more about them and visited the National Leprechaun Museum. What an ear-opener.

There was a great deal more to the museum than just leprechauns; during the visit, a guide told the tourists other tales about the Sidhe (pronounced Shee), the fairies of the land. A large map – showing the country and some of the ancient place names – was used to tie together tales of adventure, great battles and betrayals. It was a veritable smorgasbord of inspiration. I even bought a book about the Sidhe from the gift shop.

I have so many story ideas from this four day trip it will keep me going for a good couple of years!

Inspiration can come in so many guises and usually when you least expect it, so be prepared to be amazed wherever you go.

For writers: where does your inspiration come from?

For readers: what inspires you in your favourite books?

I’d love to read your comments!