Those of us who have published books are often asked where we get our inspiration (or even ideas). My answer is simple – they say “Write what you know”. That gives me a wide field to draw on as I’ve changed not only jobs but professions more often than the Pony Express changed horses.
I worked in a veterinary surgery but Alf (Mr. Herriot) beat me to that big time. I was at sea with Shell Oil on tankers but that would make very tedious reading; months seeing nothing but water and then two days ashore. One trip I never saw any foreign land except Rotterdam where I both joined and left the ship.
I’ve worked in offices but that didn’t inspire me either. The choice between romance and Grisham didn’t grab me. In the end I was left with the one subject that has been a constant in my life – nature-based faith or paganism. I know that inside out and back to front from personal experience. My only problem is terminology. Start talking about religion of any sort and people’s hackles rise. Let’s be honest, I don’t really have a word for what I am, apart from healer.
So here I was with my subject matter and a vision that gave me the start of the book but how to go about explaining a world where many people were like me without using provocative words like “witch”? I plumped for “magic-user” as that covers most things and “shaman” which is closest to what I am, being the local spirit-communicator. I am responsible to and for the life around the village.
The easiest way is to give you an example from yesterday when I was in the physiotherapy waiting room. No I can’t heal myself, that is one of the embuggrances of it. Sitting opposite was an elderly lady whose distress was hitting me like buckets of cold water. I had to do something. I just could not sit there and ignore the emotional pain she was giving out. Yes, this puts me in a position of getting arrested for molesting strangers or at the very least being thought bonkers. (I am but that is besides the point)
I sat beside her, took her hand and just started chatting as if we knew each other, telling her she wasn’t on her own and didn’t know how many people cared about her. Yes, that just came into my head, I don’t know why. Hearing that her family all lived far away I began mentioning neighbours, friends, and then offered her some of my strength and a bit of love. OK so she probably did think me insane but not dangerously so.
Chatting with another friend yesterday afternoon I was told “Yes, but you don’t know the ramifications of what you did. If you’d left her on her own you would have felt dreadful. Now you have planted seeds that may sprout in a couple of days. The old lady might suddenly realise that she is surrounded by people who care….even the bonkers woman in the medical centre”
So that is why my two novels are peopled with characters who can do that sort of thing. I didn’t realise that “magical realism” was a genre when it was published by Crooked Cat but that is what they are.
Find them on their International Amazon links – takes you to your nearest one!
Book 1 Alchemy http://bit.ly/1Z4HCUb
Book 2 Shaman’s Drum http://bit.ly/1mgdIhL