Monday, 17 June 2019

Inspiration for Crushing Curiosity

My writing took a turn for the weird and wonderful after watching a TV fairy-tale and I became fascinated by an actor I don’t normally like. His character was Rumpelstiltskin. I recalled a childhood memory. I was running along a road to get home as fast as I could after watching my first school play. Rumpel had frightened me. I then wondered what could have happened to him to make him such a nasty being and for some unknown reason I also remembered a boy who used to live nearby. We were friends until he moved away. He was odd and sometimes scary. I wondered what he would have been like as a teenager and then an adult. Although the TV programme did eventually try to explain Rumpel’s tragic origins it wasn’t enough for me. What if it was much simpler? What if it took only one moment for a child to connect an intense emotion to an experience? It then sparks an unnatural inclination that grows as the child grows? I now had a main protagonist for a new novel. My serial killer was born - Barri George.

Littleborough Train Station
I remember it well. I took a train journey from my local station to Halifax thinking I would use the day to figure out my new character and I do my best thinking when out and about. I couldn't help but think of another character from Star Keeper, Caprice and the journey she took when escaping her antagonist. I instantly knew she had to be the Belle to my Rumpel but a fairy tale was the last thing on my mind. Two characters would meet then push boundaries. It would be a thin line between the macabre and holding on to sanity. This would be the stuff nightmares are made of.
Crushing Curiosity - everyday insanity
As I gazed out of a train window I was steeped in the beginnings of a new novel and decided I would be Caprice for the day and see things through her eyes.

Halfax Piece Hall Gate
Halifax was the ideal location for my novel but it was renamed. Imposing wrought-iron gates greeted me when I reached the town Piece Hall. I imagined Caprice fleeing up the central street and then being confronted by them. They would block her way of escape but, where would she then go to? I looked up at the sky as rain began to drizzle and then around. It came to me. Caprice would have to undergo a horrible experience only to be rescued by a greater evil.
When I returned home I began writing my opening chapters. It was immense fun but also disturbing. I had to dig deep and then my two characters began to reveal themselves.
Later, I would use a Character Profile which sounds very CSI and in a way it is similar. Profiles contain all the basic character details which I can then build on it so that like CSI profiling I can begin to think like them. I then put characters into the same space and they interact. It is at that point that the magic happens and I become a conductor with a baton but allow the characters to produce the music.
Aberystwyth Playground

During an afternoon exploring Aberystwyth Castle in Wales I saw this playground nearby and had another spark of inspiration. Playgrounds can be great fun but also scary places when you're a child. Where would a serial killer have played as a child? With other children or alone with his unnatural urges? A walk around Littleborough provided my next clue.
An ideal tree for a tree-house
Both a playground and tree-house feature strongly in Crushing Curiosity. I spent many a sunny afternoon climbing trees at my dad's allotment when I was a child. I had longed for a tree-house. Balancing on branches above the rest of the world was like being in a fairy tale of sorts. It was like being cut off from the rest of the world but.....back to Halifax.

When I visited the Piece Hall it hadn't yet been restored to its present glory but nevertheless it was a glorious and atmospheric place. I wandered in and out of the few quaint and unusual shops hidden away in crumbling buildings. In Crushing Curiosity Caprice and her new dangerous friend also visit the Piece Hall. Caprice's ignorance of her companion's true nature was bliss to write. It was also bliss to write from Barri's perspective and finely balance danger with longing.
Piece Hall, Halifax
Inner court at Halifax Piece Hall

“Some people have a disposition for the macabre. Some prefer fantasy to an unfulfilling existence. Some find that a single moment injects itself into their lives repeatedly until all they live for is that moment. Is that me?”
In this extraordinary thriller a man with an unnatural obsession is in pursuit of his perfect victim. A chance encounter with a young woman then challenges his patience, perspective and strict lifestyle. Misunderstandings transform the relationship between two unique characters while they both face danger neither suspect. This disconcerting story will provoke your emotions as the killer’s personality is revealed and his victim’s plight is uncovered.
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