Challenge Participant


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Guest Post - Rachel Hore - The Silent Tide

I am very pleased to welcome Rachel Hore to my blog today. Rachel has published a number of books and her latest book, The Silent Tide, was released last month. 

I asked Rachel where she gets inspiration for her books: 

A novelist’s inspiration 
As a novelist, I am often asked ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ Although I’m secretly tempted to answer ‘from the ideas shop, of course’, or ‘I forage for them in the woods’, I understand what the questioner is getting at.  A novel is, after all a complex castle in the air, that floats like ectoplasm from the writer’s imagination.  It’s perfectly reasonable for the reader to wonder what inspired the whole creation in the first place.
There are novelists such as J.K. Rowling, who famously tells us that the entire concept for the Harry Potter books came to her fully formed during the course of a train journey. Lucky her. There is though something about long journeys – the boredom, the repetitive rhythm of wheels or marching feet - that allows the mind to roam free.  I developed the whole plot of my first novel, The Dream House, whilst driving from Surrey to Norfolk on one luminous New Year’s afternoon, but I was only able to do so because I’d spent some months previous brooding on its themes and the characters to carry them, and had written a few practice paragraphs to see where they would take me. I suspect that most writers have similar experiences to me.
Ninety per cent of the ideas within a novel are the result of hard work: research and reading, scratching one’s head, writing, much crossing out and rewriting.  Occasionally there might come that flash-of-a-kingfisher moment of inspiration - what Henry James used to call a ‘donné’, a ‘gift’ of an idea – that every writer craves. In my experience these are rare, come from unexpected directions, and there’s no point in sitting around idly and waiting for them to show up. You need to get going first.  One kingfisher moment for The Dream House struck when I happened to read in our local paper about a house full of curiosities whose contents were being auctioned off.  A house of treasures became the central motif in my novel, but this inspiration came only after I’d started work on the book.
Writers view the world around them - and read the books of other writers - like magpies looking for shiny material, but each will alight on something different that represents some subject or theme of special interest to them.  In my case this is often simply a setting with a rich sense of history: an old house, perhaps, or a church or a particular landscape. Whichever, it has to be somewhere where I can begin to picture characters for the past and the present narratives that I like to combine.  In my new novel, The Silent Tide, I chose as my main settings two London publishing offices, one contemporary, the other from 1950.  It was then possible to muse on the very different worlds of Emily and Isabel, the women who worked in them, albeit seventy years apart, and to construct a story to link them. However, the whole framework of the novel only grew bit by bit, and frequently only during the actual writing process. One particularly exciting revelation came very late, when I was three-quarters of the way through the book.  It was clear that I needed to know my characters thoroughly first before I was ready to receive it.

The Silent Tide (Simon & Schuster) is published on 12 September 2013 in paperback and eBook.  Her website

Thank you Rachel for visiting my blog today. 

No comments:

Post a Comment