One of the most common questions writers are asked is “Where do you get your inspiration from?” For me, this is difficult to answer because the ocean in which my mind swims, and sometimes flounders, is so vast that it is hard to pin down individual waves of imagination or creativity. Ideas can pop into the head unexpectedly, like trout rising to the surface of the water on a sultry summer’s evening, and must be quickly seized before they disappear back into the depths of the subconscious.
When pushed, I can broadly summarise the multitude of influences under these headings, which I refer to as “the three Ls”:
LIFE covers all phenomena observed or perceived by the senses: the sights, sounds and smells encountered, covering politics to people watching, art to artifice, culture low and high, the important and the trivial.
Artist: Malcolm Horton.
LOVE is another broad umbrella, coming in many forms, not all good. There is friendship, romantic and sexual love, pragmatic, spiritual, platonic, altruistic, manic and self-love, the love of certain behaviours, possessions and obsessions, the love of food, aromas, music, tickles or pain, the love of nature, landscape, this planet, the sky, moon, sun, stars and beyond.
LOSS is an unavoidable part of our journey. It is often painful, but not always so. The loss of love or loved ones can lead to sadness and grief; the loss of a friendship, money, home, possession, sense, limb or a game (or even an election!) may give rise to fear, anger, sorrow and regret. The loss of innocence, inhibitions, faith or trust can result in both positive and negative outcomes, all offering the potential for learning or personal growth.
No doubt I haven’t covered everything. As a writer is important to try to understand other people, which is often impossible, but I believe that to write a good novel all of the above must be considered to create realistic characters who have credible motives or stimuli for their thoughts and behaviour. With convincing characters, the plot is brought to life. Without them, it is just a load of stuff that happened.