author inspiration – where does yours come from?
It takes all kinds of authors to write books; fat, thin, happy, sad, contented, dissatisfied. We’re all sequestered in a dark room somewhere banging the heck out of a keyboard and agonising over passive voice infestations. We’re a weird bunch and I’m undoubtedly the weirdest. I must be. I put a piece of cloth over my daft cat’s ears and took a snap on my phone. As she’s my closest writing companion – she must be weird too. See, I lack for nothing.
There’s a perception that we should be able to account for our story lines and complicated plots. I’ve been asked more than once, ‘How do you come up with this stuff?’ I usually open and close my mouth like a bemused trout and then make something up. ‘I dreamed it,’ doesn’t sound like a viable option sometimes, although on two occasions it’s definitely been true.
I never write fantasy and although I read it under duress as beta reading and editing favours for author friends, I’m much more the cozy mystery kinda gal. Yet right now, my ‘fun piece’ is a fantasy book. Yeah, weird hey? I sent my daughter the first 4 chapters yesterday and she messaged back. ‘I want more.’ That’s awesome. I just became a fantasy writer and you know what? I dreamed the whole thing.
But where did it all begin for K T Bowes?
I started writing as soon as I worked out what a pencil was for, probably aged 1. My beautiful stay-at-home mother gave me reading and writing lessons from the age of 2 when my baby sister had her nap. I remember that glorious hour in my childish day even now. We both knelt in front of a coffee table in a British Air Force married quarter on a disgusting patterned carpet in Carterton, Oxford and she taught me the alphabet. By the time I started school aged 4 I was already writing letters to my aunts and uncles which my lovely mother dutifully posted. I referred to my teacher’s phonetics teaching as ‘baby talk’ and at that young age refused to take part. The pattern was set, although I hope nowadays I have a more teachable spirit.
Why can’t I communicate that story when asked? Why, when asked how long I’ve been writing, do I resort to the trite answer, ‘Always’?
Readers expect me to account for my desire to churn out novels as fast as they can read them and they’re right; I should be able to share my story. It marks out who I am and why I love this crazy pastime. I shouldn’t stutter over my experiences like I’ve just been asked a complicated maths question.
But I know I’m not alone. Many of us are able to pour ourselves, our experiences and our personalities into novels and poems, engaging readers who gag for more, whilst devaluing the trail which took us there as dull and not worth the retelling.
Don’t panic. I’m not launching an autobiography. I won’t be regaling you with the time a rescue helicopter was called to a West Wales cliff face because a friend and I found a quiet spot and did a bit of topless sunbathing. How were we to know the weirdo was peeping from above? And no, we didn’t see him plummet past and land on the rocks below because English degree students get really engrossed in their reading material.
Those of you who know me really well and have read The Hana Du Rose Mysteries know Hana comes straight from the heart. But you’ll also see my personality in Emma, especially when she grabs the stalker’s nuts and in Deleilah, teasing and cajoling the town cop. My own life and experiences are the inspiration for my author side because as a wonderful English teacher told me when I was 11, ‘Write about the things you know.’
So that must be my mantra when asked about the inspiration behind my novels. You are my inspiration; family, best friends, real situations added to a healthy dose of overactive imagination. I was bullied at my violent inner city high school and kidnapped with 2 friends at the age of 12; the first time Mum let me go to town by myself. I’ve lived in 4 different countries, married for life, raised 4 children and survived the teenager stage (nearly.)
Author inspiration is everywhere and I soak it up like a sponge without realising. Yes, if you offend me I’ll act like I always do; non-confrontational and probably overly submissive. But I’ll kill you in my next novel and it will be painful.
So, I’ll keep writing and hopefully you’ll keep reading and somewhere along the way, I’ll learn to give a better account of myself and my inspiration. I’m a work in progress but I’m getting there. Pinky promise.
K T Bowes is the NZ Author of quite a few novels based both in the UK and in NZ. She blogs about random stuff and tends not to value her own stuff, which is a bit of a shame. Check out her Amazon Author page and see for yourself.