Thursday, 25 April 2019

Inspiration for Star Keeper

After I had finished writing Temptation it wasn't long until lightning struck twice and I was inspired to continue, taking some characters forward into a new life. It was obvious to me which characters I wanted to continue writing about but I also wanted to stretch them, give them new challenges and to do this I took a darker turn.

Littleborough Car Wash
Inspiration for Star Keeper's first death
I was travelling through the local car wash in Littleborough, watching the rollers come towards me, when I thought of how weird it was to be sat in one box, inside another larger box and feel so detached from the world so briefly. Anything could happen. I then saw vividly how a mysterious death was the way forward with my next novel.
Hare Hill Park, Littleborough

Hare Hill House, Littleborough 
The following day I took a shortcut through my local park on the way to the shops when I spotted an unusually small grave in the middle of a small patch of grass. I hadn't noticed it before despite the numerous times I had passed this way before. At first I was appalled, thinking it had to be a child's but then I read the inscription and was intrigued.

When I returned home, I looked online for info. Mephisto had been a pet monkey of the owners of Hare Hill House in the late 1800's. One night he escaped and climbed to the rooftops before falling to his death. Somehow, I knew I had to use this in my novel and it wasn't long before another outing provided further inspiration.
Skipton Castle Central Courtyard, South Yorkshire

The following week me and my family went to Skipton in South Yorkshire for the day where we spent a memorable afternoon in the castle there. I remember sitting beneath the tree in the courtyard and looking up at the huge tree overhead. The courtyard is beautiful but also strangely atmospheric. My thoughts were drawn immediately to how I could place my characters in a similar setting and then the scandalous events to bind them together. I couldn't wait to get started.

Chaucer & Cheese - Star Keeper

Of course my courtyard couldn't be in a castle so I knew that one of the characters I wanted to take forward from Temptation was Tommy the chef. My courtyard became part of an old vicarage and Tommy was following his dream of owning his own bistro-cum-bookshop...Chaucer & Cheese.

Star Keeper's Caprice 

I had the bones in place and now I needed the flesh. I also needed a temptress and so Caprice was born. The fiery red-head who thinks only of herself and how to get what she wants. Red devils are not always what they appear to be. Caprice had to have depths to explore and her connection to another new character, Mr. Phestoz (Mephisto for short) had to be a mystery for all my characters, new and old, to get to grips with. Each of their lives would be impacted by these two new characters and their strange game.
The photo opposite was one of my own concoction. I'm behind the mask. My temptress was created by the author, me.

I now had a setting, characters and a basic story direction. I spent quite some time exploring who my new characters are and I placed them in the same rooms to see what they would say to each other and how they would react before I began writing my novel. Using material I had prepared and was happy with I found that the real magic began once I had introduced a supporting cast. Their dialogues and reactions to the events unfolding around them almost wrote themselves. It was an absolute pleasure to be the fly on the wall.

Littleborough Canal - Winter
Littleborough Train Station
Star Keeper ended the only way it could and Littleborough train station had provided a key.

It was a cold winter morning when I took the journey that Caprice makes. After I had returned home and finished writing my final chapter I knew that it would be extremely difficult to let Caprice go. She was beyond complex and I knew she had a story that still hadn't been told. Little did I realise then how it would take me a few years to realise what that story would be. Crushing Curiosity is Caprice's tale but it is also the tale of an even greater evil to be encountered. I then evolved into a thriller writer.


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