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Hello, fellow book worms!

I suppose the question most often asked of me is, “Where do you get your inspiration?” Well, I tend to believe that the past informs the future and the way I handle themes, characters, ideas, conflicts and landscapes appear to bear this out. I don't know why we remember some things and not others but my special memories do influence the decisions I make. For example, I like to be able to see the setting for my novels through my mind's eye just in a general way at first. I mix up my memories and experiences to create new scenes. The details become embedded in my mind and I live with that newly created landscape, teasing out the detail.

The ideas for “Lightning Strike” arose from the personal experiences of living in the Far East. Like so many children, I loved animals, indeed, loved and protected them whenever the need arose. I was on a mission, rescuing puppies and kittens from the monsoon drains and, much to my father's dismay, de-lousing them in the bath! Smaller creatures had my undivided attention too. Frogs being beset by red ants were rescued and islanded in a bowl of water. I made a burial ground and said prayers over them. St. Francis was my inspiration, caring man that he was!

Christine on a recent visit to modern Singapore
a very different place to that of her childhood!

Christine in Singapore

An even earlier memory was of playing with a German internee during the war. There was a camp nearby, an enormous viaduct with the river running beneath it, culverts and a mentally handicapped little girl whose loneliness I could only begin to imagine. I felt for her and wondered why she was so strange. These were the inspirations for my second novel, “Man out of Jail”. Some of you might know that that phrase was what our mothers used when a toe peeped out of a hole in our sock!

Hairy Bob's Cave

The North East coast forms the backcloth for “Kindred Spirits” - that and my interest in genealogy. I wonder if any of you have ever heard of 'Hairy Bob's Cave?' I was very impressed with that! Look it up on the internet and if you read the novel you will see why it might have gone some way to stir the imagination of a little girl. An 'oubliette' can be found in Warwick Castle; a fascinating but cruel form of punishment. I used that idea as well as cliff falls to help in the creation of my plot.

Hairy Bob's Cave, Scarborough. Image courtesy of Jodi at Flickr

My last, as yet incomplete novel, “The Kitten Crawl Kids” was inspired by my son's experiences when on exercise, serving in the army. Those of you with a service background will know the relevance of that. My dear, now deceased 96 year old mother, became the inspiration for a character in that tale. She was so frail – weighed only six stone at the best of times. She became known as 'Skinny Bones Margueriti' – a name coined by my little grandson when he put his arms around her. I'm possibly having to decide on another name for the character. Lovely though 'Margueriti' is, it may not be suitable. Big decision!

So, nuggets of experience have often become starting points as I conjure up a plot. Then of course, the “I” word plays such an important part in the development of my novels. 'Imagination' – where would we be without it? But I have always been very curious. I like to know what makes people tick and it helps to be observant! Then again, if you read my novels you will find that they always have an historical or social context.

So, why not have a go at writing yourself? And if you do, I wish you every success. Of course, it can be a lonely business even though your characters become your friends.

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© Christine Hornsby 2014