The final installment of the Book Lover’s Club competition questions. Thanks to everyone for their interesting and though-provoking contributions!
Firstly, from Diane Ayres: I would like to ask Kirstyn where she got her inspiration for this book, and whether she bases her characters and story lines on real people and real situations or they come from her own imagination?
I honestly can’t remember specifically what inspired me to write Madigan Mine. I know the idea started as the germ for a short story and rapidly metastasised, leaving me with a fledging novel that ended up bearing little resemblance to the original story idea (which would have ended about where the novel begins). This is often how it works. An idea will mutate, join with other ideas, become something different. Usually in my head before I even begin to put fingers to keyboard, but sometimes in the writing of it as well.
I very rarely use real people for the basis of characters, although I will sometimes borrow traits or personality quirks if they suit. My characters become very real people in their own right, as I have usually spent months or years thinking about them before I start writing about them. Real situations, on the other hands, are very often the basis for storylines — although, by the time the story is finished, the resemblance to anything which might have occurred in real life can be almost gone. That’s the difference between the spark of an idea, the flash of inspiration as it were, and actually creating a work of fiction. Things change. The unexpected happens. The story you think you have turns out to be something else entirely. An idea might come from a real person, a real situation, but then imagination takes over. And that’s what keeps me coming back to the keyboard each day.
Heather Luedi would like to know: Was this style of writing what you always wanted to do? I have heard some authors say that they just seem to be able to do this type of writing but love a different genre altogether.
I read widely and always have done. (Well, once I got over the Ponies! fetish I had as a kid, that is.) I tend to lean towards what is termed “speculative fiction” and my subject matter/themes/stories of preference are usually on the darker side. This carries over to my writing. There is lot of stuff that I read that I won’t ever probably write, because my imagination doesn’t seem to take me in those directions, but I don’t have a great yearning to write anything other than the stories that come to me. That said, I am constantly inspired by the writing of others and there is very little that I read that I don’t find myself learning something from. And there are lots of books that I love and kinda wish I had written — but of course, if I had, then they wouldn’t be those books at all, they’d be something else entirely.
And finally, from Sharni Luedi: I was wondering if you would ever do other forms of writing like young adult books for example and i was also wondering if you are a planner or whether you just allow your characters to go where they want?
I love young adult fiction and read a lot of it. It’s a very exciting corner of the literary world right now with some brilliant authors producing some truly astounding books — Liar by Justine Larbalestier, to name but one recent example. Every time I get the beginning of an idea for a young adult story, however, it morphs into something not so much. Or at least that’s how it feels to me. Perhaps one day I’ll find a idea that sticks. 🙂
The idea of planning out a novel is very appealing to me. So appealing, in fact, that last year I bought a whole bunch of different coloured post-it notes with the notion of plotting out my current work on the blank wall of the spare room. Yeah, I still have all those post-it notes. Planning just doesn’t work out for me. Once I have the characters and the beginning of the story and a vague sort of idea of where it’s heading, that’s when I start to write. And I don’t stop until it’s finished or it fails. I don’t know if it’s about letting my characters go where they want as much as letting the story follow it’s own lead. Probably it’s both. A complicated dance between character and story that takes place between my head and my hands. It can be very daunting sometimes — all that unknown, uncharted terrain out there in front of me — which is why sometimes I wish I was a planner, but it’s also an exciting way to work. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finishing a scene and thinking, “Wow, I had no idea I was going to write that today!”
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