I thought I might add this feature, either weekly or biweekly for the readers who email me, and don't always get a pompt, or indepth answer from me. I hope followers will like it! I'm planning on combining reader questions, and a behind the book series for readers.
One of the most popular questions that come my way are 'what inspires you', or more succintly 'how the heck did you ever come up with an opium addicted hero,' and in regards to poor old Wallingford, 'how come he can be such an ass?'
Well, the answer to these questions are; the character. They come to me as they come, an that's really a very fascinating part of the whole writing experience. But more on Addicted and Sinful, and the upcoming related novella to those books will be creeping into this blog in the coming weeks.
So, today, I'm gong to address inspiration. In one word, I'm inspired by 'everything'. Normally, for me, it's snippets of things. Perhaps one line in a song (music is probably the number one most inspiring thing for me; and I always make playlists for each of my books) and artwork. It can either be classical, photo's, or landscapes. Generally, it's something moody, desolate but romantic. That tends to be my formula for writing, and by now I've learned not to try my hand at light and fluffy, because it's just not me as a writer. I'm darker, I guess. I enjoy finding beauty in the stark and bleak, the humble, and the tortured soul. So, my inspiration naturally springs from this.
Take for instance, this gorgeous piece of artwork.
The subject-Fallen Angels is a favorite of mine. GAWDS, I love me a bad boy angel, but it's not only the subject itself that inspires me, but the tone, dark, smoky, moody, the way the fog and mist curl around the lamposts like a lover snaking around a woman's body. It's the brilliant, sensual color of the woman's dress and the romantic, fluffy layers interspersed with lace. It's the way he's carrying her, and how her head is tossed back and her throat, so pale and luminous is exposed. It's the feeling of danger and security, sensuality, and a deep, palpable passion that exists in his expression, which is mysteriously, and inticingly partial covered.
I've already written a scene that very much resembles this couple's pose. I've made it my own, through setting, thoughts and the character's own traits, but there is no denying that this exact picture inspired a new picture in my mind. (Thanks, Barbara)
And that's usually the way it works for me, with art. My eyes see one thing, and it immediately turns to something different, but along the same vein in my mind.
Next is music. Any kind of music can inspire me. In classical it's a feel. I think because I like to dvelve deep into the human condition I find that classical music, especially piano and violen help me to capture the tone and feel, and emotional depth that I desire in my books. Sometimes I can be listening to the music, and barely conscious of the words I'm typing. That's just a stream of conscious writing, and at that moment, I AM the character. For me, I have three--now four go to music selections that I ALWAYS write every book to. They are the Kingdom of Heaven movie sountract, the 2005 Pride and Prejudice soundtrack (Sinful was written exclusively to this soundtrack) and Loreena McKennit's The Mask and the Mirror.
Last week, I added the new Jane Eyre soundtrack, composed by the same man who brilliantly composed the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack. Let me tell you, it's just stunning. You can almost hear the violen weep. Just gorgeous. And this soundtrack has been instrumental in the writing of Pide and Passion while helping to achieve the emotional arc of this intense story.
The songs Wandering Jane and The End of Childhood are in heavy replay rotation on my iPod. I've written what think is a beautiful and passionate love scene between Lucy and Sussex; they're stripped raw and naked, and emotionally they're both at the lenth of their tether. It's been passion denied too long, and hearts that have been bleeding too long. It's two souls desiring each other, but who are afraid to reach out; it's the mask of politeness dropping so that pain and sorrow, fear and a very great longing can be seen. I have to say, that the emotional connection between them is poignant, which makes the physical touching, and the act of making love all the more powerful. It's probably one of my favorite love scenes I've written thus far!
Have a listen on Amazon, and you'll know what sort of love scene, and emotional itensity there is between these two! (Definitely listen to Wandering Jane and The End of Childhood, because those are the only songs I listened to while writng that scene!)
Occasionally I will listen to words with lyrics, but only to get me in the mood. I never write to lyrics because I'm afraid of inadvertingly typing out something I'm listening to.
And finally, another important inspiration for me, is words. Geesh, I love the power of words. They can hurt, tear us apart, but they can soothe and make us happy, or aroused. I love finding just the right context, and fit, and the perfect word to make a sentence or thought sing. It's not surprising then, that I love quotes. I'm especially fond of Shakespearean quotes, and one's from Anais Nin.
Here are a few favorites about writing, which I happen to think are sooo true....
There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and open a vein--Walter Wellesley
The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say--Anais Nin
Words so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them--Nathaniel Hawthorne
And that is it, readers. The inspiration behind my books, and imagination!
If you listen to the Jane Eyre soundtrack, let me know what you think. As well, if you're eager for more of the Addicted world, stay tuned, lots of stuff coming up for Seduced By Starlight in the anthology, The Wedding of the Century!
And a question, if you wouldn't mind answering...does an author's musical playlist enhance your reading experience, or do you prefer to listen to your own musical choices? Or perhaps, you enjoy nothing but the sound of the character's voices in your mind? Would a playlist for my books be of interest to anyone?