My novels are fiction, complete fiction, but sometimes I use places I’ve been or people I’ve observed (strangers, not anyone I know) as inspiration and from them I creates something which is far removed from what originally inspired me. I’ve even used my blog in my present story!
In my as yet unnamed next Radwinter novel, Thomas’s brother comes across a blog in which he is mentioned – not by name but a description is obviously him! The basis for what I wrote was a couple of blogs I’d posted here, both of which were in turn based on little scenes I had witnessed. My original blog was imagined based on an observation, the blogs in the story are also imagined, based on my imaginings… Third-hand at least!
In this imaginary blog post, Thomas Radwinter’s brother John has come across a blog about a bookshop, which is very similar to the one he manages, and the people who work there sound very like himself and his assistant. This is what John read:
I’d heard an excerpt of a marvellous book read on BBC Radio 4 and decided to get a copy. However by the time I got to the shop I had forgotten not only the name of the author but the name of the book as well.
Me: Hi, I wonder if you have a copy of a book set in New Zealand before the First World War… it’s not fiction, it’s a true story about the murder of a young Maori girl.
Helpful assistant: What is the title?
Me: Um… something like ‘By The Light Of The Comet’ … it’s written as a story but it’s true, I think it’s set when Halley’s comet was visible… or maybe I’m muddling the title and the comet… it’s really gripping; I heard it being read on the radio.
Helpful assistant: Who is it written by?
Me: Sorry, no idea, but it was an ordinary name like Peter or James or Richard somebody.
Helpful assistant: On Radio 4? We get a list of their books, I’ll have a look.
She consults the computer. I mumble more stuff and then she calls over the handsome assistant with the stunning smile.
Handsome assistant: I think I’ve heard of that, wait a minute…
Both are now furiously tapping away at their computers while I witter on irrelevantly.
Handsome assistant: “The Night of the Comet”? He reads a précis. “Who killed Rimu Watkins? On a chilly night in July 1910, three years after the Tohunga Suppression Act of 1907 the purpose of which was to suppress Maori healers, a body was found by an abandoned homestead. It was Rimu Watkins, a young servant girl and illegitimate daughter of the local mayor and lay preacher. Her hands had been removed…?”
Me: Yes! That’s it!
I follow the handsome assistant through the store and he finds the last remaining copy…
‘The Night of the Comet – “ho killed Rimu Watkins?’ is an imaginary book, although there was actually a Tohunga Suppression Act.
Here’s another blog John finds:
I was in a book shop and there were two people working there; a young woman with a long wispy fringe and long wispy hair was wandering around, with a slightly confused expression on her face – she wasn’t confused, it was just her expression; she helped customers, and answered queries and had such a sweet smile – I thought she probably looked exactly the same as when she was a little girl!
The other assistant was very focussed and everything he did was quick and efficient and yet he was ever alert to for a customer needing help and when he helped them he was so lovely and gave them such a stunning smile… I wondered as I observed these two, whether the bookshop had a ‘smile’ policy when they interviewed staff, because both these assistants had such gorgeous, friendly smiles!
If you haven’t caught up with my Radwinter books, here is a list and a link and I hope the one I’m just editing now will be available shortly:
- Raddy and Syl
- Beyond Hope