I get all sorts of inspiration from all sorts of different sources, and not just inspiration for story lines, characters, settings, but also how I approach my plots, how I structure my work, how I set up the dramatic events and situations.
I have mentioned before that I have been watching Borgen, the Danish political drama. I came to it rather late as the first series was shown in 2010, and the last in 2013…. although there is a hint there maybe series 4. I won’t ever write a political story, I am not knowledgeable enough, and I don’t think I could write a story which has so many players, so many themes, so many interweaving and complex story lines, so it isn’t that aspect which has given me ideas for my own writing.
The first two series of Borgen follow a woman politician who against the odds becomes the Danish Prime Minister; it follows her political career but also the impact her position has on her family and her relationship with people within her political party, and the compromises she has to make to stay in power – there is the balance between keeping true to her principles and her aims when she was elected, and what she has to accept in order to stay in power to put her policies into practice. The second series ends with her calling a general election… and I am sure the viewers must have assumed, as I did, that she would win the election and Series III would be about her next term in office. I hope I don’t spoil the surprise for those who have yet to view it, but she doesn’t win and Series III starts with a completely new situation for her, her party, her family and her friends. There is a subsidiary story about a couple whose relationship we have followed and at the end of Series II we are lead to believe certain things will follow for them. Series III is somewhat of a surprise on that front!
So… how has this been an inspiration for me? Well… I always maintained I would not write a sequel to any of my novels… but somehow, after I published ‘Radwinter’ a second story followed, ‘Magick’. Never in my wildest imaginings did I ever think I would write a series, and yet I published at third part, ‘Raddy and Syl’ earlier this year… and totally unexpectedly, when I had other things to write, I found myself writing a fourth part of the story of the Radwinter family, ‘The Lost House’.
The first three novels had various different elements to them,different story lines but they told the story of Thomas Radwinter and how he gradually found happiness. This fourth story I am writing has a darker side to it… things begin to go wrong, his tight-knit family begins to fall apart, and without giving too much away, although there is a resolved and ‘happy’ ending, it is definitely darker and less cosy… but I hope it more realistically portrays what life is really like.
Although I have not yet finished this fourth part of Thomas Radwinter’s story, there seems to me to be one final chapter which might be written as a fifth book in the series. I’m not yet sure,it’s just a thought at the moment… however, if it does get written, I have taken note of Borgen… cosy is not always the most satisfactory situation for a drama – whether a novel, a TV programme or a film. Sometimes you have to be brave as a writer and step away from cosy… If Radwinter V gets written I think there will be different, more challenging elements to it… Yes, definitely step away from cosy.