Sunday, September 12, 2021

Finding Inspiration

Do you have a muse? Or a happy place that gives you inspiration? An ideal reader, perhaps. What gets you inspired to write?

Brenda Chapman at the keyboard today.

Where do I get my inspiration to write? I believe my friends and family (particularly my husband) would also like to know where I get the inspiration to write about crime, but that's a different question altogether :-) 

I've had this love for reading and stories ever since I can remember. I could spend hours straight immersed in a book, or play with dolls or cutouts by myself with no need for live playmates once my imagination got going. While I outgrew the dolls, writing kind of serves the same purpose. Making up stories, inventing characters with full lives, dreaming up places ... I'm doing much the same as I did with my Barbies, only now with words on paper.

I have original Barbie and Midge dolls but they aren't in mint condition, sadly.

I haven't a muse per se although I am inspired by all the crime fiction writers who manage to capture me with their stories, poetry and literature. The list of crime writers whom I admire is long and wide, but there are a couple whose work I aspire to emulate (or perhaps more accurately to learn from) albeit in my own unique way: Denise Mina, Ann Cleeves, Liza Marklund, Adrian McKinty, Giles Blunt and Michael Connolly. All brilliant storytellers, which is what this is all about, in my opinion.

And locations that give me inspiration - most places in my orbit are fodder for my stories. My husband and I were in St. Catharines recently, which is in the heart of Niagara wine country in Southern Ontario. We went on a couple of walks on the nature trails and I remember thinking, this would be a great place to include in a story. I penned a short story last week set in this very location.

Walking in the woods in St. Catharines

Other locations are uplifting and help to centre me. I particularly find bodies of water both soothing and inspiring at the same time. My garden and other gardens are also a source of calm and pleasure. I write most often somewhere in my home, be it my office, my backyard or my front veranda. 

Nothing like a beach to get one centred - this is Lake Ontario near Cobourg, ON

A nook in my office where I do a lot of reading, thinking & writing

Spring peonies in my garden

What keeps me inspired to keep writing? Apart from the joy from creating stories out of words, I have to say that messages from readers keep me going on some of the less assured days. Here are a few snippets from recent emails I received through my website - and I'm still amazed by the kindness of strangers who take the time to write to me:

It has been ages since I've found an author whose stories I enjoy reading as much as yours. 

 I love the depth of your characters! I am constantly guessing who did it and I wanted to thank you for writing such a good book!

hi..have listened to a couple of your them!  

wanted to touch base with you and say thanks for writing those books.  They have given me hours of reading pleasure.

How can I not be motivated by such feedback?! This week's question has been an invitation to consider why I write, and I'm thankful to have had this brief time of introspection.


Twitter: brendaAchapman

Facebook & Instagram: BrendaChapmanAuthor


Susan C Shea said...

What lovely feedback you've gotten, Brenda. I can imagine it inspires you to keep writing.

Brenda Chapman said...

It does! Thanks Susan - the emails arrive unexpectedly from all over the world and are so uplifting.