Claire and I were talking at work today about how ideas for stories come about. She was telling me (and I hope she doesn’t mind me mentioning it here) about an sketchy idea that she had that might make a story, and I was saying how The End Of All Worlds started life as a very small idea. Thinking about it, all my stories started life as the smallest seeds…

The End Of All Worlds
For much of the writing of this, the working title for this story was actually Blood & Fire. In June 2001 I made my first visit to Iceland and immediately new with its rich history of folklore and legend and the awe-inspiring beauty of the country, I HAD to write a story set there. In August 2001 there was a story in the news about a girl who got lost in the Malaysian mountains but who, days after being lost, gave signs of having survived. The next day she was found dead, but by then the seed of the idea had been planted. Oddly Eleanor Ármannsson in The End Of All Worlds was a Helen for years before becoming an Eleanor. It’s therefore slightly weird to discover that the girl who started it all was called… umm, Ellie…

Mr Tumnal
This story had an even smaller seed of an idea, starting a car share to work with Caroline in mid-August 2006…
Me: It’s very autumnal today.
Caroline: Who’s this Mr Tumnal

And thus it was born. Two 45 minute car journies later and his character was just about formed, if without the fantastical/magic elements.

The Mill
No mystery in this one, but a film/novel that is set precisely in the high summer of 1999, just before the turn of a new millennium. If anything this is a romantic comedy, and is special to me because it is where Kirsten Ball and Alice Cartwright first meet. Even though it is just a few years after the events of The Mill that they appear in The End Of All Worlds it doesn’t matter. The chronology is not in important because the stories are completed unconnected, and indeed feature in different worlds. The one is still the backstory to two how they meet in the other.

Flyht
The main theme came as part of a dream. Two ordinary people discover, by chance, that they can fly. And the setting? At the time that I conceived the idea, bonnets and costume dramas were everywhere on TV and film with big adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, and BritPop was in the charts. Regency England and 90s BritPop… what if they actually existed in the same world. And thus, the world in which two young lovers discover they can fly was born…

I have pages and pages of similar ideas in my notebooks of ideas for stories, some more developed than others, all with a quirkiness about them. Quirky and wonky, I think that sums up my writing. And in the quirkiness and the wonkiness, lies the interest.