Wednesday, 7 August 2013

WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?

As a writer you have to be constantly alert to everything around you.  Snippets of conversations, unusual images, incidents, interactions, smells, sounds, dreams and odd ideas that just pop into your head.  You mull these experiences around in your head until you come up with a "what if" idea.
Here's how I got the idea for some of my novels:

UNNATURAL:
I discovered that serial poisoner, Mary Ann Cotton had spent the early years of her life just around the corner from my grandma's house.  When I read more about her and discovered she murdered husbands, children and step-children then gave birth to another child in prison I thought what if a childless woman became obsessed with trying to understand why someone would murder their own children.

THE PITMAN'S DAUGHTER:
My parents and grandparents lived in an area of Durham County UK that had been the centre of coal mining.  On a visit there in the 1980's I was amazed to see the mines had all shut down and there was little to no trace of the industrial landscape left.  All I could see was greenery.  A new outdoor museum had been opened at Beamish and some of the old streets and mines were transplanted there.  So begins the story, They put Rita's house into a museum...


THE FOREVER ONES:
I'd always been fascinated by the research being done on telomeres and their influence on ageing.  I wrote a TV pilot, a full length feature screenplay than I was sitting at a coffee shop looking out the window and I saw this amazing mural but this was on a grey, slushy day:

That's how the first chapter was born and it took off from there!
It's always good to carry a notebook or use your phone to take pics just in case one of these ideas comes to you.  Write it down.  You're bound to forget it!