As Sarah wrote in the last post on this blog, inspiration comes from all over and can strike at any time. I also find it interesting that a writer can pretty much always remember what it was that inspired a particular story, and how it moved from the initial vague idea into the final, fully rounded story.
I have two stories in the anthology. The first is ‘We’ll Meet Again’ which begins with a girl buying vintage jewellery on eBay. The inspiration for this came when I was, wait for it, buying vintage jewellery on eBay. I treated myself to a 1940s diamante brooch in the shape of a flower, then spent a happy half hour browsing the rest of the vintage jewellery and clothes. In true writer-style, I began thinking ‘what if?’ What if someone became obsessed by the vintage items, and bought nothing else? What if they were compelled to do so, because they were possessed by the ghost of someone from that era?
And so I had the start of a story, and I knew it was going to be a ghost story. There are rules for ghost stories – you must treat the ghost as a character in its own right, and give it back story, a personality and motivation. Once I’d decided who my ghost was and what she wanted, I had my plot. We’ll Meet Again was the result.
Every now and then my hubby and I forget how much it rains during Irish summers, and go on a camping trip somewhere in the west. On one trip we visited a ‘country park’, actually little more than a farm with a tea shop and car park, somewhere in Kerry. The old ‘what if?’ muse struck – what if the owners got greedy? – and the story, ‘The Changing World of Michael O’Sullivan’, was born. It is set in a real, but uninhabited valley, picked off the map. I tried to capture some of the musical lilt of the Kerry accent in the dialogue.
The story ended up being a bit of a parable: in the words of Joni Mitchell in Big Yellow Taxi – you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. It’s always been a favourite of mine – never published before as it’s not typical womag, but it was shortlisted in several competitions.
You can read We’ll Meet Again and The Changing World of Michael O’Sullivan in Tears and Laughter and Happy Ever After now, on kindle!