Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Inspiration For My Story - Group Post Part One

Have you ever wondered where the inspiration for a story comes from?

Well we've decided to share what inspired us to write one of our picture books.

Abie Longstaff 
Most of my inspiration comes from games I used to play with my younger sisters. I am one of six girls and, as the eldest, it was my job to keep all the younger ones busy. We played all kinds of imagination based games; like hairdressers, doctors, schools, lost children or mountain climbers. We used to pull apart the sofa cushions and build towers of cushions to make palaces and hills and forts. When I had my own children, the memory of all those games came flooding back to me. The Fairytale Hairdresser series is based on our salon we used to have, where we washed all our dolls' hair. We loved the business side of it too, and would make pretend money to pay, and our own 'shampoo' out of leaves in the garden.

Jane Clarke
Sometimes there’s a long, long gap between inspiration and book!  Knight Time is a story of friendship across cultures and it came about because my two boys were lucky enough to be educated from the age of 4 to 18 at Antwerp International school, a melting pot of different nationalities. The parents eyed each other a bit warily, but the kids just got on with being friends.  It was years later when it occurred to me that I could write a story about  a Little Knight and a Little Dragon who start off being afraid of each other but  discover they have more similarities than differences  and become great friends. How old is Robert now? 27!

Lynne Garner
My first picture book idea came from the work I do with a local hedgehog rescue centre. Hedgehogs that are too small to hibernate stay in a warm shed and enjoy an extended summer. Those who are fit enough and over 600 grams are encouraged to hibernate in a dry, sheltered hutch. I often wondered what they dreamt about. I also felt a little sorry for them because they miss the wonders of winter. The cold mornings where your breathe plays in the air, the crunch of fresh snow underfoot and the seasonal celebrations. The idea for my story was born. But how to write it? Perhaps a diary? That was it! A friend of a hedgehog writes him a diary. So Teasel the mouse was born and missed his friend so much that he wrote 'A Book For Bramble.'

Pippa Goodhart

The inspiration for Little Nelly's Big Book of Knowledge was my father-in-law teasing his grand-children by 'proving' that George, the Golden Retriever, was a hamster rather than a dog.  Grandpa had taught zoology at Cambridge so knew a thing or two about animals.  Hamsters are golden, as was George, was the one bit of proof, and I can't remember the rest, but that led me to inventing a small lost elephant (with the tell-tale name of Little Nelly) who looks in a book to find out what she is. She sees in the book that mice have big ears and thin tails and can be grey in colour, so she then 'knows' that she is a mouse ... which of course leads on to interesting times when she tries to go and live with other mice.  Thank you, Grandpa Charles!  


Now we've shared what inspired us. If you're a writer we'd love to know what inspired you to write one of your books?


Anne Booth said...

I love this! Thanks so much for sharing. All your stories are great - but I was particularly inspired by Lynne's as I have been told that books about hedgehogs were unsellable abroad and so should be avoided. It's FANTASTIC to hear about your success with yours, Lynne! I love hedgehogs and I am now given courage to try again with a hedgehog story I am very fond of - so thanks.

I love the way you have each shared your inspiration - from Grandads to international schools to childhood games - they all sound fabulous!

Anonymous said...

LOVELY post, ladies. I loved reading about where your inspiration came from. To use a popcorn analogy, I find that, like Jane, my story kernels also take a long time to pop into stories.

Jane Clarke said...

I love your analogy, Laura