Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Guest Author Clodagh Murphy gets steamed up in a cupboard with... well, you'll never guess!


Where do you get your ideas?...  has to be one of the questions readers most frequently ask (so much so that it's become a joke), and one of the most difficult for writers to answer.  'Out of my head' or 'everywhere', while accurate, can seem dismissive and unsatisfactory.  We're suspected of being evasive, even mean-spirited, refusing to share our secrets (which may be true – the secret being that we haven’t a clue).  I want to answer, like Philip Henslowe in Shakespeare in Love, 'I don't know.  It's a mystery.'

Maybe it's different for planners, but as a pantser, my stories evolve as I write.  Characters, scenes and whole threads emerge that take me by surprise, and by the time I get to the end of a book (or even the middle) I've often forgotten where most of it came from – if I ever knew in the first place.  Sometimes ideas literally seem to spring from nowhere.

That was certainly the case with my latest book, Frisky Business (out on June 1), about a woman who has Darth Vader's baby ... kind of.  So where does an idea like that come from?  I'm still not sure, but I do know that it was very much a product of the marvellous institution that is NaNoWriMo.

When I signed up for NaNo 2010 all I had was a character called Romy, who was a property developer, and the house she lived in, which was inspired by a gorgeous house I'd seen while out walking one day – a big pink house with a green gate.  I had a strong sense of who Romy was, but no idea what was going to happen to her.  However, in true NaNo tradition, I didn't let lack of plot stop me, so on November 1st I just started writing.  Being that time of year, I suppose it's no surprise that the first scene I wrote was a Halloween party  – what was a surprise was that next thing I knew, Romy was having sex in a cupboard with a guy dressed as Darth Vader.  Then it was a year later and she had a baby, and no idea of the father's identity.  I certainly hadn't seen that coming.

All sorts of other things fed into the story as it went along.  A magazine article I read about adult children who ended up moving back in with their parents due to the recession inspired another character's story.  It got me thinking – what if you'd been working abroad and leading a life that your family knew nothing about, but then found yourself forced to move home?  That's what happens to Kit, Romy's first boyfriend, who has lost his Wall Street job and returned to Ireland.

Other elements came from all over: some BDSM stories I'd been reading; a Groupon deal for an adventure weekend; blog posts by Médecins Sans Frontières volunteers; property renovation TV shows ...

So, like I said – out of my head, and everywhere.  But mostly it's a mystery.

GIVEAWAY! If you'd like to win a signed copy of 'Frisky Business', leave a comment below telling us who you'd like to be up close and personal with in a cupboard and who knows, you could get a nice surprise!

Clodagh is the author of 'The Disengagement Ring' and 'Girl in a Spin'.  She can be found on Facebook, Twitter and she has a website that's nearly as lovely as she is where you can even read the first chapter of 'Frisky Business'!

15 comments:

Fionnuala said...

I don't qualify for a free copy, being a 'Strictly' an' all but I do know I'll be buying it where it'll sit proudly by your two other books. Can't wait! Thanks for dropping by Clodagh x

sarah-painter.com said...

So true about ideas, Clodagh - and I'm relieved to hear that you don't plan, either! I'd love to win a copy of Frisky Business but I'd (possibly) love a close encounter with David Tennant even more...

Cresus Archipelago said...

There are many ladies I'd like to be up close and personal with, Clodagh being one such. The thing is, I can't think of any non-lurid scenario which would precipitate either one of us being in a cupboard alone, let alone together. I am a powerfully built gent and in terms of wardrobes or cupboards there are few that will accommodate my presence within never mind a'lovely' as well. If forced to proffer an reason by way of excuse as to our residence within any said restrictive container I would probably blurt out something like..."You're late! Get in quickly"

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Wow - maybe ideas come from cupboards! If so, am quite happy to go in alone. Your book sounds brilliant, Clodagh - thanks for visiting Strictly!
Susiex

Anonymous said...

Fabulous first chapter, looking forward to reading the rest!
Clodagh now one of my favourite authors!
More books soon please!

Derek said...

A great post for reminding me how we can take inspiration from anything and everything around us, as long as we're in a curious and attentive frame of mind.

I was also intrigued by the comment from Cresus Archipelago. Perhaps those encounters are only cupboard love. And after all, Mr Archipelago, no man is an island. Or even a group of them. :o)

Gillian McDade said...

:):)

Best wishes with the book, Clo. I'm the complete opposite in that I'm a meticulous planner. I admire pantsers very much!

Siomha said...

Himself!! ;-) I Loved your last two books so can't wait to read Frisky Business..

Caroline Green said...

Ah is so great to hear where stories and ideas come from. Wishing you all the best for Frisky Business, Clodagh!

Cressy McLaughlin said...

This book sounds wonderful! I would love to spend quality time in a cupboard with Richard Hammond. He'd keep me entertained because he talks a lot and is pretty to look at - and also he doesn't take up much room, so it wouldn't be too cramped! :)

Sharon said...

Book sounds fab.

I'd love to be up close and personal with Martin Offiah... mmmm those muscly thighs ;0)

Lralala said...

Its not "up close and personal" because that would be so wrong!! But Harry Potter 'the boy who sleeps in the cupboard under the stairs' for getting kids excited about reading when the book was released..and many never stopped!

Also.. The Cookie Monster (Muppets) comfortable and useful for napping, always has cookies..
What more can a girl need...
Oh i know! THIS BOOK!! :) xxx

Lralala said...

As I'm not sure what my entry is connected 2..
And i really want to win.. lol
My Twitter profile is @lranne and can be reached there if (crosses everything) needed.
Shameless comment :(

Kat said...

I'd love to win this, I'd choose to spend time with mr dreamy also known as Patrick Dempsey

Claire said...

Oh Geard butler my honey bunny my sweetie pie my sugar plum and then I pinch myself and wake up lol xx