Wednesday, April 17, 2013
What is Your Inspiration
A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to be invited by Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio to come and spend the day and night there where Megan was writer in residence for a day in this charming college town. We got there in late afternoon, after she had already taught a class, met with writers, met with a women's group and had a few meals with the faculty and students.
But we did get to hear her evening talk, which was on the theme of inspiration and how important it is in her writing. In it she traced what had inspired her in each of her novels. In DIE, it was a picture of a woman's back, in SONG it was a fragment of a movie where Jean Spangler had a moment on screen, in QUEENPIN it was her favorite movies from childhood, in BURY, it was the murder house itself, in END, it was pieces of music and a series of murders that happened in Michigan in her youth, and in DARE, it was the first thirty minutes of FULL METAL JACKET where the recruits go through basic training. In all of them, there were other touchstones, of course, but these were the basic jumping off points.
Can you trace a story or novel of yours to a specific inspiration? Many of my stories, especially in HOME INVASION, emanate from a childhood friend, now dead, who had a strange and conflicted life. They aren't exactly her stories but they come from her world--from the kind of incidents and people she attracted. And her face is often with me as I write.
What about you, writers?