Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Q/A: Places of Inspiration

Q: Do you use real places as inspiration?

Yes, I do. If I can use real events in time, I will also do that although not as often. I do try not to name the  actual building although I will name the location and describe the building.

For example, my inspiration for the house in Restraint was Annesley Hall. I mentioned the town of Annesley through out the book, but never mentioned the hall itself. I developed a fascination with this manor house when I saw an episode of the show Most Haunted. Lord Byron was actually in love with a young maiden who lived in this house. However, I was fascinated by the sightings of a dark, ominous figure, the maid who hung herself in the laundry, and the belief the the house is haunted by a child who fell or was thrown from a window. At one point, this building was a school. The house was also consumed by a large fire back in the 1970's, leaving the outer shell of the derelict building you see above. I used points of this history at certain parts of my story. The child falling from the window was Marcus as Laura dangled him out. The maid was Anne. The dark, ominous figures were the vampires, and the fire opens the story. For more information on the history of Annesley Hall and its paranormal history click here.

Another example is the house the Linda was held captive in Lament. The inspiration for the house in the Isle of Wight, which was guarded by hell hounds, was Arreton Manor. This is another haunted manor I spotted on Most Haunted. It is a bed and breakfast now, but it actually has a long history of being owned by English nobility, including Lord Culpeper (Thomas II) and Edward the Confessor. I was drawn by the sad story of Annabelle Leigh who witnessed her father's murder at the hands of her brother and was killed as a result. This is the inspiration behind Mason Lee's father who was accused of killing his father. The house is also know for its any ghosts of monks, a young girl (maybe Annebelle), and a woman dressed in red. As you can imagine, the ghost in the red dress was my inspiration for the cover of Linda wearing a red dress. For more information on the history and ghostly sightings click here.

The inspiration for the Carter house in Malcontent is Appuldurcombe House. Although this house looks quite majestic, it is actually a ruin. The front of the house has its windows intact, but the inside is a stone ruin. It is quite the tourist attraction, but it is its ghostly history which intrigues me. It is known for the apparitions of monks, a phantom carriage which stops at the front entrance, the ghost of a beautiful woman, sounds of children laughing, and the sound of a baby crying. Visitors to the basement have actually seen dancing shadows and ghost lights. See if you can guess what I will incorporate into the novel. For more information of Appuldurcombe's history or ghostly sightings click here.

So, real places can serve as inspiration. However when choosing a location, you don't have to be historically accurate if you are writing fiction. You can use some of the history or happenings but use them in your own way. Especially if the use of a family name is in question, because the family may still be living and you don't want to offend them. I recommend using an anagram or not naming the house but the town instead. Use your own discretion.

Happy writing and remember inspiration is everywhere. You just have to look.

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