18 July 2012
Author Article: Tasmina Perry
"When Inspiration Strikes"
Something I hear a lot from people is that they’d love to write a book if only they knew what to write about. Let me reassure you – there are ideas all around you! Here are a few places I get inspired.
Talking to friends
The idea for my second novel Gold-diggers was based on a party I went to with a friend who had started going out with a very rich and connected businessman. What an eye-opener it was meeting and hearing about the wives and girlfriends of some of the wealthy men who were there. Some were childhood sweethearts but others seemed quite ‘focused’ in landing their rich paramour. The more questions I asked the more it seemed there was a whole scene of very beautiful woman who had it in their sights to land a millionaire and knew all the places to go, where to shop, how to look to do it. It was fascinating and I knew I had to get pen to paper to write about it!
I know you’re supposed to go on holiday to relax but I usually take my laptop with me wherever I travel. Maybe I’m solar-powered but I always seem to write more when I’m away! More likely is that going on holiday relaxes you and the ideas flow more freely than when you are stuck at home worrying about when you are ever going to get down to the supermarket or the gym. Plus on holiday you get to see places and experience things that aren’t usually on your radar.
My new book Perfect Strangers is a chase story which takes our heroine Sophie around the world in search of the secret behind her boyfriend’s death. Several scenes are set in Cap Ferrat which I been to a couple of times and which I thought was so beautiful and elegant I knew I had to one day write about it.
On day trips
I visit as many museums and exhibitions as I can. In the past few weeks I have been to the Scott of the Antarctic exhibition at the Natural History Museum, Hampton Court, a talk by famous Pop artists Sir Peter Blake and the Ballgown exhibition at the V and A. Sometimes I feel guilty about bunking off from work but reading things, seeing things, hearing things that help you jump into another world, another time really does spark off an amazing amount of ideas. I am currently writing a book for next Christmas called The Proposal. The entire idea came from visiting the Last Debutantes exhibition at Kensington Palace. Seeing all the beautiful dresses, the dance cards, the cigarette cases and lipsticks from the 1950’s helped it come alive in my head.
Some people count sheep. I count plot holes! And it works! I’ve worked out lots of twists and turns for my novels as I’m drifting off to sleep. I also drive my husband mad turning the lamp on in the middle of the night to scribble down a dream I’ve just had.
On long drives
Somewhere among the sweet-wrappers, the road atlases and the CD cases, our car is stuffed with notebooks. Every time we take a long drive my husband and I talk for hours about plots and ideas for new books. We plot and dream and scribble it all down. Dozens of scenes of books have been brainstormed on the long drive to Cornwall or going up to see my parents in Manchester.
I was a magazine journalist for years. It was the best job in the world and I got to travel the world and meet lots of famous and interesting people some of whom have inspired and influenced lots of the characters in my novels. Before that I was a solicitor which really helped me when I was writing Private Lives – which was set in a media law firm.
The point is, it doesn’t matter if you are a history teacher or a hairdresser, what you do, people you meet can light the crucial spark for a book idea.