I am so excited to be writing my first post for Girls Heart Books. Then again, I’m an excitable sort of person. At the moment I’m being mostly excited about pomegranates. They taste kind of different to other fruits, don’t they? Sweet but also a little bitter. They look like little nests of jewels and they are such an amazing colour. In fact, last week I bought a bag the colour of pomegranate and was so excited I posted it on Facebook and stuck a picture of it in my journal. Yes, pomegranates are I definitely my favourite thing – this week.
I do have lots of enthusiasms. Like old velvet jackets. I can’t pass by one in a charity shop. At the last count I had 14 different velvet coats and jackets. Or cookery books, I have hundreds! My family roll their eyes when I come home from a shopping trip and try to quietly unpack another new/old coat, or cookery book… or pomegranate. Does this mean I’m an obsessive hoarder who should be signed up for a TV documetary? I hope not, I prefer to think of myself as someone who takes inspiration from lots of sources, a sort of gatherer of things and ideas.
It’s the same with writing. There’s something very exciting about an idea which won’t go away. One that you constantly seem to come back to it in a different way or form. You know what it’s like. You’ve never really paid much attention to the Eiffel Tower and then one day someone posts a picture of it which you like. Suddenly, you’re seeing Eiffel Towers everywhere – on a TV advert, on your teacher’s keyring, on your gran’s biscuit tin. It’s as if the idea is tapping you on the shoulder saying, ‘Notice me.’
Whether it’s things or ideas, whatever is clamouring for your attention is always a good source of inspiration for writing. In fact if the idea is shouting that loudly you’ll probably write about it without even intending to.
Anyone who has met me in a school or other event will know how obsessed I am with names. To be honest I’m not sure where this fascination came from. I’ve always quite liked my own name because it’s short and it starts with an ‘R’ which I think is a nice, irregular shape (far too many letters are symmetrical). However, I have noticed that Ruths in books and films are very rare and, if they turn up at all, tend to be rather miserable, gloomy characters, if not downright evil. So it seems that, even though I like my name, other people aren’t so keen. Perhaps this is what sparked my interest in how your name affects your character. Do boys called Victor feel powerful and strong? Do girls called Grace feel graceful? What if your names Victor and you’re rather a quiet, bookish sort or if you’re a Grace who’s naturally clumsy? My interest in names was clear in my first book – without really meaning to I gave Emily an obsession with naming her sister.
What captures your interest? Is it something you could write about? Could you give one of your characters one of your interests? Perhaps they’d do something very different with it.
And if you spot a pomegranate in my next book you’ll know why. Sweet but a little bitter, now there’s an interesting character…