Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SPARKFEST POST #2: What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

This is my second post as part of the SPARK BLOGFEST, and the next question that our host, Christine Tyler (see more info in the box to the left) posed was:

What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?

My current work in progress is in its infancy. But I can tell you that the story is based on my mother's experiences as a child in England and Wales at the start of World War II. In terms of genre, it will be YA historical fiction.

A few days ago, I would have told you that the book and author(s) that inspired me for this work in process are The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  Their story weaves between present and past to unearth secrets and mysteries surrounding events on the Ilse of Guernsey in the English Channel, while it was occupied by the Germans during WWII. 

But .... then, this past weekend I was inexplicably drawn to re-read Mary Stewart's book, Rose Cottage. It hooked me, and I followed it up with Nine Coaches Waiting and Madam, Will You Talk? I can't seem to stop - The Ivy Tree is next. And I realized that my appreciation for books like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society began long before with Mary Stewart's books.

Stewart weaves historical fiction with a good mystery, and always, a satisfying romance. As I read her stories again, I soaked up the vivid sensory descriptions that make her settings feel like home. And I realized that I had subconsciously been drawn to read her books again because, for my new work in progress, I needed to be transported to 1940's England and to be reminded how it looked, smelled, sounded, tasted and felt. I needed to hear the language of English country folk and see the landscape, their homes and how they dressed.

I hadn't thought of Mary Stewart's books in years, but they have stayed on my shelves always. Her influence has been there waiting for me, and now I know why.

Would love to hear your answers to this question, or if you are also a lover of Mary Stewart!

****Many thanks again to Christine Tyler for hosting this fun and different Blog Fest.****


  1. I not only love to reread books, I underline and tag pages and comment in the margins. I make a mess of them but I get so much more out of them. I checked your profile. I take Iyengar yoga but the class is oriented toward people with limitations...and believe me, I have limitations. Thanks for visiting my blog, too.

  2. Hi Jan,
    The studio I'm at has a strong Iyengar influence, but also other styles too. It's YogaSource in Santa Fe. Iyengar is wonderful for its focus on getting alignment right, and also for using props to help get the benefits of poses even with limitations.

    While re-reading Mary Stewart, I kept thinking, I really must highlight some of this description and these words!

  3. That was a much simpler and less hectic time, for sure. I haven't read Mary Stewart, but I've heard many writers say how much they love her work. On my next library trip :)

  4. This is the second time I've heard of The Rose Cottage in the last month. It's a sign. I need to check out Mary Stewart. Thanks for the tip.

    And The Christmas Village sounds so interesting. I've also wanted to live in one of those :)

  5. I gobbled up Stewart too when I was younger :)

    The writer who inspired my most recent book is Anthony Trollope, a 19th century British author. I adore his Barchester series, and when I asked myself what niche of existence I know REALLY WELL, and could write about without any research whatsoever, I realized it was the ecclesiastical world of Presbyterian colleges, seminaries and churches -- just like Trollope's Anglican town. So I launched into it, under his inspiration, and it's been fun. I feel like I'm writing about a town and people I've known all my life, and that (I think) can make the story and characters very rich.

  6. Carol - Mary Stewart's stories are fun! They're not "romance novels" but there's always a romance. And always a mystery. I love them.

    Angie, The Rose Cottage is a nice one to start with. It's got a good mystery and it makes you feel all cozy!

    MK,what you're writing sounds wonderful. I also really like the Jan Karon books, which sound like what you're up to. Characters you get to know, a place you wished you lived.

  7. I don't think I've read Mary Stewart so I looked her up and her novels sound terrific. Thanks for introducing me to a new author! I love discovering new books. :)

  8. Hi Laura, thanks for coming by!

  9. Ooooh, very nice! I, too, have my share of interesting happenings in the family that have inspired certain of my stories. Good luck with the WIP!

  10. I've not read any of Mary Stewart's books. Rose Cottage sounds interesting :O)

  11. Mary Stewart's books are like having cocoa and buttery croissants by a roaring fire on a snowy day.

  12. Oh wow, what an interesting experience to draw from! Sounds like a story worth sharing!


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