Inspiration can be a slippery thing to get to grips with. When you’re desperate for an idea it can refuse to make an appearance, leaving you with writer’s block and a thumping headache. Then, just when you’ve called it quits for the day, it decides to slap you in the face at the most inconvenient moment, usually when you don’t have access to a pen or a PC. Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining while staying at The Stanley Hotel, so at least he had complimentary notepaper to write on. But spare a thought for poor Frances Hodgson Burnett whose extensive Kent garden inspired her to write her classic children’s book, The Secret Garden. What was she supposed to write on when inspiration struck? Leaves, perhaps?
I glean inspiration from many places. While I was writing my first novel, the dark vampiric fantasy, Dunraven Road, I was inspired to write about vampires without even planning to be. Dunraven Road was supposed to be about feeling unfulfilled in your twenties, but somewhere amidst the unrequited love and the ambition a band of starving vampires crept in, taking over the story and meddling, in some cases disastrously, in my character’s lives. I suppose it was inevitable that I would write about vampires one day. I was inspired by Anne Rice’s intricate tales of love and unlife in The Vampire Chronicles and the viciously beautiful undead in Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls. It was the vampire as anti-hero, not two-dimensional villain that inspired me. My latest novel, Jinn Nation, went one step further in my love affair with immortals. I took my favourite vampire character from Dunraven Road, a character I couldn’t bring myself to destroy at the end of that novel along with the rest of his kin, and created for him a story of his very own.
Many scenes in Jinn Nation are inspired by music. I always listen to music while I write but this was more than a case of music seeping into my work surreptitiously. I planned large segments of the book around scenes inspired by single songs that had been playing in my head for a long time, long before I ever began writing Jinn Nation and long before they even belonged to specific characters or places. One of those songs was Bring Me to Life by Evanescence. Maybe it was the dark cityscape of the video but that song conjured up an entire exchange for me between two characters who were having a stand-up row, both wanting to tear into each other and end the fight with a passionate embrace. This turned into the last chapter in Part Two of Jinn Nation. It’s one of my favourite scenes but it was also one of the hardest to write as I was so intent on including all the little details I’d been carefully preserving in my head for nearly a decade.
Dreams are a common source of inspiration for writers. Mary Shelley produced Frankenstein after dreaming about a scientist who was afraid of his own creation and Stephanie Meyer famously started writing Twilight after dreaming about a vampire and a young girl alone in a forest. The novel I’m working on now was inspired by some vivid reoccurring dreams about a small town on the edge of a river. The town is imaginary, although I’m sure it’s also a conglomerate of many towns near where I live in South Devon. I clearly saw the grand yet faded public house overlooking the water, the tiny streets filled with independent shops and the winding beach, stony and pearlescent. After dreaming about this town for the fourth or fifth time, I finally decided to put it into a story. I still haven’t worked out all the details of this new novel, but it will definitely feature some sort of faery market (also from a dream, by the way!) It seems that once again I’ve taken an ordinary idea and let something completely unordinary creep in. I suppose that’s what happens when you read too much Tolkien at a young age.
You can currently buy Jinn Nation for your Kindle or other e-reader for the very special price of $0.99 / £0.95!
About the author:
Caroline Barnard-Smith has been writing stories since she was five years old. Having graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, she now lives in Devon, England with her husband and baby daughter where she writes about ruthless vampires, lovelorn zombies and heinous blood cults.
Her short stories have been published in numerous small press magazines, including Ballista, Hungur and Night to Dawn, and on the web at Dark Fire Fiction.
Caroline’s debut dark fantasy novel, Dunraven Road, was published by Immanion Press in June 2009. For various exciting reasons she’s since turned her hand to indie publishing. Jinn Nation is her first full-length independently published novel.
When she’s not writing, Caroline is busy running her handmade craft business, CazzCraft, selling both online and at craft fairs.
Where to buy Jinn Nation:
Amazon Kindle USA
Amazon Kindle UK
Check out further stops on the tour at: http://barnardsmith.wordpress.com/jinn-nation-blog-tour/ And stay tuned for an excerpt and review of Jinn Nation.