It’s quite difficult not to be inspired if you live where I live. You would have to wrap yourself up like a mummy – which is appropriate for Halloween and an interesting fashion choice for the rest of the year – to avoid taking notice of all the interesting things here.
In my first book ‘Elen’s Island’, Elen is moved to an island (I bet you couldn’t guess that from the title) to live with her estranged grandmother here in Pembrokeshire. Neither of them are happy about it and…. I won’t spoil the story for you in case you want to read it. *You are entering a Shameless Plug area*. I would read it if I was you. It’s good and is in fact possibly the best book ever written (says my mum).
Anyway I was digging about for a story here and it wasn’t hard to find.
Firstly we have an island. And Watson my flying dog.
Then we have someone who moves somewhere new and has no friends there and feels lonely and upset and frightened. Me… um… I mean Elen. Then you have the most wonderful and brilliant things about Pembrokeshire. The nature and wildlife, the sea, the people and lastly, but not least-ly its general weirdness.
It made me really think about surroundings and how much we are influenced by them. I LOVE nature in all of its wonderful weirdness and I also love weird in all of its wonderful weirdness. I love to write and read things that have, what I call ‘something other’. That ‘something other’ might be a ghost or something that goes bump in the night. That ‘something other’ might be a healing performed by nature or by a White Witch. That ‘something other’ might be a story from history that is so macabre it has us gasping that it could ever have happened here!
And so I give you this challenge in the run up to All Hallows Eve. Go and look for the weird, the odd, the unusual in your own surroundings. Use the things you find to start stories or poems or plain old simple conversations. This close to Halloween we are allowed to talk about witches and magic and spookiness and oddities as much as we like. So make the most of it. Embrace the weird!
You don’t have to live by the sea to find weird. I’ve just been writing a YA called ‘Gaslight’ which is set in Victorian Cardiff. If you want weird the Victorians are a REALLY good place to start! In fact any place throughout history has its strangeness if you delve deep enough. And if there is nothing immediately obvious then imagine it or ask the people in your family for a strange story so you can use it to inspire your own.
If you’d rather read a book with a bit of ‘something other’ first to get you in the mood try the brilliant ‘Crow Moon’ by Anna Mckerrow for dystopian witchcraft or the ace ‘White Petals’ by Maria Grace for a bit of weirdness in nature.
Come and join me in my hunt for the unusual and exciting. Come on, its fun! Wooooooooo! That’s my ghost impression. I know, I’m weird and I LOVE IT!