One of the most frequent questions I get asked by readers is: “Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?”
I wish I could say I dip my hand into the Magical Inspiration Pond and pull out a shimmering fully formed story! In reality, the answer is much less exciting; like most writers, I get my ideas from anywhere and everywhere. For the many people who tell me they’d like to write a book too, I realise that answer isn’t very inspiring. But actually, it’s good news, because if there is no ‘magic’ it means that anyone can write a novel if they really want to. (The magic word there is want.)
Before I started my first novel, I had no idea how authors found inspiration and how they sustained a fictional tale for 100,000 words. I assumed that Real Writers were born with an in-built ability to think up and tell a story. Well, maybe some people are born story tellers but having written 13 books in ten years and got to know hundreds of novelists, I am convinced that most writers aren’t ‘born’ – they study and practise their craft just like any other professional.
As a writer, you start to view the world in a different way: in a slightly more detached way. I worked as a journalist for a few years and was always on the lookout for good local features. Nowadays I’m still always on the lookout - but for interesting characters and great ‘hooks’ for a novel. As a writer, boring moments become fascinating – waiting for a train; sitting in an airport lounge... watching people interact, listening to the way they speak... As for dull tasks like doing the ironing or travelling as a passenger on a long journey – they’re precious moments when your mind can wander and you’re open to fresh ideas or thoughts previously hidden in your sub-conscious. I got the ideas for two of my novels while travelling back from holidays.
Even horrible things like going to the dentist or confronting someone unpleasant can be turned to your advantage. Analyse your feelings, embrace the discomfort – it will soon be over and you can use the experience in a book.
As for that unpleasant person; while they’re ranting or being a pain, ask yourself what motivates them to be so annoying? Do they have self-esteem issues or are they just an idiot? Whatever you decide, they can go in your novel too and fictional revenge can be very satisfying!
Activities like reading the newspaper, watching TV or surfing the Net often throw up endless opportunities for ideas. A story about a man who proposed during the ad break in his girlfriend’s favourite TV programme gave me the premise for one of my books. I also find settings inspire me, especially dramatic and beautiful places that have had an emotional effect on me. That’s what happened with the Oxford Blue series.
I spent three years studying at Oxford and I’ve never forgotten that exciting, scary, intense period of my life. It’s been an amazing experience to revisit those heady days through the eyes of Lauren and Alexander, although it’s taken me a long time to finally get there!
Once you open your mind, you’ll find that inspiration pops up more and more. You really have found the Magic Inspiration Pond and you keep dipping your hand in until you pull out an idea that glitters and shimmers just for you.
Third Time Lucky – #3 in the Oxford Blue Series by Pippa Croft and is out now!
For fans of Sylvia Day and E. L. James, the third and final part of this exciting romance series.
'It's Sister Dixon from the Royal Infirmary here. I'm sorry to tell you that Captain Hunt has been involved a serious incident.'
Lauren Cusack should be on her way home for an holiday in Washington before her final term at Wyckham College, Oxford. But this call changes everything. Her relationship with impossibly handsome aristocrat Alexander Hunt has been turbulent and Lauren knows she needs to walk away. Yet now as she rushes to his side she knows she will be inevitably sucked back into his world.
And sure enough, Alexander - even a seriously injured Alexander - is an intoxicating cocktail Lauren cannot resist and despite everything that is sent to thwart them - and with Alexander there is drama at every turn - she finds herself happier than she's ever been.
But as her final term races by, and she is offered the perfect job back in Washington, the impossibility of their romance hits home.
Can there be a future for Alexander and Lauren?
The love trials of Lauren and Alexander continue in the third book in Pippa Croft's brilliant new Oxford Blue romance series.
Fans of E L James, Tammara Webber and Samantha Young won't be able to get enough of Pippa Croft's Oxford Blue romance series. Lauren and Alexander's journey begins in The First Time We Met, and follows on in the brilliant sequel, The Second Time I Saw You, which are both available as Penguin e-books.
About the AuthorPippa Croft is the pen name of an award-winning romantic novelist. After studying English at Oxford, she worked as a copywriter and journalist before writing her debut novel, which won the RNA's New Writers' award and was later made into a TV movie. She lives in a village in the heart of England with her husband and daughter.
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