The problem with starting a blog like this, and being Freshly Pressed on my third blog post, is that I can’t help but feel like I ought to be constantly churning out Class A non-fiction offerings. And I definitely believe that my skills lie more in fictional works than in poignant social commentary!
The blog was originally planned as a showcase for some of my fiction work, and the ‘So am I an Author yet?!’ article was more of an apology for being brave enough to tag my own name with the word, rather than the start of a detailed blog about writing.
However, a lot of the comments which have appeared on the blog have inspired me to write about other aspects of writing.
One of the things I have been asked about are my inspirations. As I discussed in Writing from the Heart, in my opinion the best ‘fiction’ is written when you are writing about something which is perhaps closer to your mind than to your heart. You need to know about the topic, however at the same time, you need to be able to give that topic emotional distance. I only realised this several months after writing my first draft of Flicker when I had personal closure on some of the events in my own life which had motivated me to write the book. And as a result, I feel the subsequent, rather different, drafts of the book were far stronger.
But finding that line between the things you know and the things you love, and treading it appropriately, can be an artistic tightrope.
Everyone needs inspirations which they are passionate about.
Which brings me on to my ‘safest’ inspiration. Something which colours almost everything I write, envokes real passion in me, and yet isn’t something I’m emotionally attached to – like a romance or a bereavement.
I’ve spoken before about my belief in role models for children. It was the reason all those years ago why I wanted to become a Blue Peter presenter.
I believe children need to be inspired. They need to be educated about all the amazing opportunities which the world has to offer, and shown things outside of the box, so that they can set their own perimeters for their own personal box.
As the child of a marriage founded on travel (my English father met my Romanian mother whilst travelling across Europe) travel and languages played a heavy role in my upbringing, however I always knew that other children might not be as aware of the world around them as I was.
It is for this reason that travel features so heavily in all of my books.
I write for young adults, and I hope that my love for travel might possibly influence my young readers’ futures.
Flicker only came together as a full story when I was backpacking down the East coast of Australia. The story itself takes place across Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji, with the sequel planned for South America, and future books in North America, Europe and Asia.
The Dream Navigator is set predominantly in Canada, Seattle and Los Angeles.
And even My Ten Future Life touches down in Sydney, Rio, Los Angeles, Texas and New York.
The world is a huge place. It only seems right to me, to make the stage upon which my characters play out their own personal stories as wide and as exciting as possible.
If I can stage a dramatic showdown on a smoldering volcanic island, or have a chance encounter take place in a backpacker’s hostel on the other side of the world, and in doing so not only enhance the imagery of my story, but also inspire a reader to search out that island or that city, then I feel I’ve fulfilled two childhood dreams.
To be a real author … and to be a role model.