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Where do you get your ideas from?

August 6th, 2010

Elizabeth Ashworth

One of the pleasant things about being a published author is that you are sometimes invited to give a talk at local libraries or book festivals.  I always invite questions and one that is invariably asked is ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’

Sometimes I don’t even know where my ideas have come from.  Often they just arrive in my head as a vague thought that needs to be developed into a viable plot.  But sometimes I can pinpoint the beginning of that process.  One of my short stories was based on a conversation that I overheard in a restaurant.  Others have also come from snatches of conversation or things that I have seen and sometimes one idea will spark off another.

That’s what happened with my novel, The de Lacy Inheritance.  The idea came to me when I was putting together a non-fiction book called Tales of Old Lancashire for Countryside Books.  One of the legends that I found was that of a hermit who had lived in a cave under Clitheroe Castle.  Further research revealed that people said he had been a member of the de Lacy family who was shunned because he was a leper.  I was fascinated.  The story of Richard FitzEustace would not leave me alone and I was compelled to find out more about this man who had fought on crusade with Richard the Lionheart and who had lost everything – home, family and fortune – because of it.

de Lacy

Ideas for stories are everywhere and sometimes occur to you at the most unexpected moments so remember to keep a notebook handy and jot down anything of interest.  Those few scribbled words may just be the beginning of your published novel!

You can read the opening chapter of my novel on my website: www.elizabethashworth.com.  Or visit my blog Lost in History at www.elizabethashworth.wordpress.com to see what other interesting stories from the past I’ve uncovered.

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