Thursday, February 07, 2013

How I Came to Write This Story: Hoodwinked by Nigel Bird

Hoodwinked came to me with the collision of ideas, as is often the case.
2 years ago, just over, I was to get married in the summer.  There was talk of a Stag-do, but I had no intention of painting any town any colour.  Thankfully, a good friend of mine understood my feelings and was also keen to mark the event.
His choice of celebration?  An afternoon at the Edinburgh Film Festival to see Winter’s Bone.  He couldn’t have made a wiser choice.
Better still, there was a Q and A with the director and the main actress afterwards where we found out about some of the thoughts that went into the film and the way they’d used local people from the mountains on screen.
It got me thinking about how that might have affected a rural community, the arrival of a film crew and all its associated bits and bobs.
The question must have formed a seed and that seed was planted somewhere in my brain.
Part two came at a safari park in Scotland called Blair Drummond.
To finish our day, we went to the birds of prey exhibition.  There’s something very moving about watching a bird in flight.  Match that wonder with sharp claws, huge wing spans and frighteningly shaped beaks and it would be hard not to be impressed.
So taken was I by their prowess that the idea of such a beast picking up a child from the ground was formed.  It certainly seemed possible the way the birds swooped towards the lure.
When the show was over, I went over to the bird-handler and asked the question.  Could a bird of prey steal a baby?
There was an awkward silence and I’m not sure how we filled it.
Perhaps he saw the harmless creature that lives inside of me, or the way I am with my own children.  Whatever it was, he must have decided that it was a safe piece of information to be dishing out.
His answer was that, yes, it could happen.  No doubt about it.  Especially if it were an Indian Eagle.
This was like the water for the seed that was planted earlier.
Imagine a mountain man forced into a position where he felt he needed to take revenge.  Take it a step further and make that man a bird-handler who could train his bird to do pretty much whatever he wanted. 
All I needed was to create the need for revenge, and who better to plant that at the door of than the film star of a movie such as Winter’s Bone. 
The chemistry was there, all I needed to do was to breathe life into it.  In other words, the difficult part.
Whether I manage to pull off the sense of place or the right tone in the speech is another matter – being a Brit didn’t make that particularly easy – and I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Thing is, it was accepted at All Due Respect, and that meant a lot to me.  Still does. 
You can check Hoodwinked out in the ADR anthology that’s just come out.  There’s a collection of talent there that is screaming out to be read.  I recommend it highly and hope that this has tickled something in you that will take you over to the page.
Thanks here to Alec Cizak and to Chris Rhatigan for their support and their unselfish sharing of their talents.


Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - Thanks for hosting Nigel.

Nigel - What an interesting combination of inspirations: Winter's Bone and a safari park! And I do like stories with strong senses of place...

Nigel Bird said...

Thanks Margot. It's often the clashing or marrying of odd combinations that starts me off on the story road.