Inspiration for writing ideas comes from a whole variety of different sources and that's not just for fiction. When I'm not writing fiction, I'm busy writing articles for magazines, but keeping up a steady flow of non-fiction often taxes the old brain cells to seek out inspirational ideas that I can turn into saleable magazine articles.
The cute Ashleigh and Pudsey off Britain's Got Talent provided the inspiration to enquire with a certain canine magazine that I've written for for many years, to see whether they would like an article that informs dog owners what's entailed if they want to teach their dog these kinds of moves. This happily resulted in being commissioned to write the article.
Writing doggy features is probably my favourite form of non-fiction articles and over the years I've been so fortunate in meeting dogs that do amazing things, from detecting arms, drugs and explosives to iconic dogs renowned for rescuing; and those providing a tremendous quality of life to less able people – and then there are those who simply bring joy to their owners and those around them.
Very often non-fiction research will re-emerge in a fictional story too. About five years ago I went on a press trip to the Champagne region in France and had a fantastic three or four days visiting the Champagne houses, the cellars and the vineyards – not to mention trying out a big selection of different champagnes and some posh nosh to go with it. (I know it's a dirty job but someone had to do it!) Anyway, subsequent articles were written and published, and all those wonderful memories were filed away for possible future use.
That research was called on again fairly recently when I had the urge to write another romance. I'd written A Tropical Affair for My Weekly Pocket Libraries which was based on a tropical island, which I hadn't personally visited (shame); but when looking to follow this up and trying to think of a new story I was reminded of the wonderful setting of the champagne region. A rich, handsome champagne millionaire would make the perfect hero. As for the heroine, well why not a feature writer on a mission?
The subsequent book Champagne Harvest came out at a People's Friend Pocket Novel (under my maiden name) just last week and reading through it, (even though I'd written it) it was great to hear my hero quoting phrases that various champagne growers had made on my visit. I was able to take the best bits of my research and create this lovely fictional world that was, in a way, very real.
I wonder how other writers weave real life events into their work, and does fiction and non-fiction sometimes work together to produce something new?
Doggy and champagne pics courtesy of Rob Tysall www.tysallsphotography.org.uk
Out of focus book cover pic by me!!
Please take a look at my website: www.annevansbooks.co.uk