You may think I should have written, ‘from where do writers get their ideas?’ but there you are.

I think there are two kinds of writer: those who struggle to get ideas and those, like me, who get too many.

  • Some people get an idea for a book and work on it in a focused way until it is finished. Their problem is to find something to write about next.
  • Some famous authors seem to have written only one novel. I have heard that English Literature students, and probably students of other literature too, often like to major on such writers, as they have to study only one book.   Dickens was most annoying: he was so prolific.  What is worse for students is a writer whose style and subject matter varies from one book to another.  How are you supposed to make a study of them?
  • Other writers, especially these days, write one successful novel and then write a series of sequels.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but in some cases the quality deteriorates with each new title.  They are still drawing on that first good idea, since they have not had any more.

The other kind of writer is one who finds inspiration everywhere. 

  • Writing historical novels, I have all of history to draw on. It is full of stories.  Not all are well known.  Some whole centuries have been neglected by novelists.  There must be lots of treasures to be unearthed.  Yet, even in the much overdone Tudor period, for example, there are many stories waiting to be told.
  • There are also lots of interesting people around. Just listen!  I have heard plenty of interesting stories, even if told by boring people.  I hope I can incorporate many of them into my books.
  • I do not plagiarise. I do not think I could if I tried.  I would always want to change things.  I do, however, get ideas from other writers, from films, from TV, in fact all around me.  I can be reading or watching something and I start imagining how else the story might have gone.  Or think up a backstory if none was given.  Or what might have happened after the end.

If I do anything you might consider clever, it is that I knit a lot of these different strands together to make a complete story.  How effective I am, you must judge for yourself.

I will welcome your feedback.