Saturday, August 18, 2012

50th party blog guest - Louise Allen

Louise Allen is another of the M&B authors that I can talk to for hours about history. (And she doesn’t live that far from me, so now that my school run is a bit more manageable we’re doing lunch…) I’ve been privileged to see some of her collection of Regency costume prints (and a shoe that gave me a bit of a lightbulb moment), and her books are autobuys for me because they’re cracking stories and she REALLY knows her history. Oh, and I have desk envy. (You’ll see why in a minute.)

Over to Louise:

Thank you for inviting me to blog, Kate and huge congratulations on your 50th title! Now there’s a reason for a party if ever I saw one.

Where does all that inspiration come from? It’s a question I get asked all the time. The answer is that usually I haven’t a clue – and I guess that’s the same for many fellow novelists. C S Forrester said that his brain was like a swamp: things fell in, sank to the bottom and every now and again after they had decomposed enough they’d float to the surface again, transformed into a plot or a character.
I’d like to think my brain isn’t quite so swamp-like, but I suspect it is closer to a bag full of knitting wool or embroidery thread. It starts off tidy, with everything neatly in balls or skeins and somehow, by a mysterious process, when you open the bag there is a multi-coloured tangle.

Very, very rarely I can trace where a plot idea has come from. Usually they arrive out of nowhere, what my husband calls a “what-if”. What if a ship was wrecked - how would the survivors’ lives be changed? That became the Danger & Desire trilogy. What if someone needs a bodyguard but doesn’t want one? That became The Dangerous Mr Ryder. Sometimes a character arrives – Mr Ryder himself strolled into another book altogether instead of the middle-aged Bow Street Runner who was supposed to arrive, so I had to give him a book of his own before he took over. Occasionally there is a snatch of dialogue, quite without a plot to go with it. I write them all down and hope one day I’ll discover where they fit.

I ought to get my ideas in my writing studio/library in the garden. Actually I spend an awful lot of time in there gazing blankly at the flowerbeds, the view or the bird feeders. Real inspiration usually comes in bed, in that lovely halfway stage between waking and sleeping. Then I can go to the studio and write it all down (when I’m not admiring the weeds). As I’m not Tracey Emin I’ll show you a picture of the studio and not of my bed!

Where’s your most creative place? I’ll send a signed copy of one of the Danger & Desire trilogy to the writer of whichever comment Kate draws from the hat.

Louise Allen
An Earl Beneath the Mistletoe in Snowbound Wedding Wishes anthology. Harlequin Historical November 2012
Forbidden Jewel of India Mills & Boon and Harlequin Historical January 2013


kooks said...

I tend to write in my bedroom usually with Merlin and Arthur padding around on my back. I really cannot think when the kids are pulling me in 3 different directions. As for inspiration, well I find doing the most mundane and boring jobs sends me off into another world. So here's to sorting out washing, hanging it up and folding it. Housework can be useful to a writer lol

Jan G. said...

Nearly all my ideas come to me in the shower. I now keep paper and pen in the bathroom and I've become adept at deciphering the smudged scribblings I've made while dripping shampoo onto the paper.

Louise, I'm jealous of your studio.

Louise Allen said...

Wish I could think in the shower, Jan All I do is lose the soap. The studio was sheer desperation - we downsized & then realised it was one room too few & that was the best way to expand.
kooks - I do hope Merlin & Arthur are cats. I have this image of you being trmapled by mailed feet & prodded with wands

Summer said...

Inspiration quite often strikes me in the morning when I'm doing yoga or some other kind of exercise.

Caroline said...

What a great writing space Louise! I'm lucky enough to have bagged the 3rd (spare) bedroom as my office, which I'm obliged to share with Bob my dog. He rules the roost in there and get first dibs on where he sleeps (usually under the desk!). I get most of my ideas walking said dogs. I was so deep in thought one morning I totally didn't see a herd of cows that started to follow us through the field. Que the fastest run *ever* when I turned around to see them all there! Caroline x

bn100 said...

The kitchen

Eli Yanti said...

Hi Loiuse,

My creative place is my bedroom :)

Desere said...

Hi Louise!

My most creative place is my bedroom it is filled with lots of red things from around the world and posters and lots of books !
Thank you for the contest !

Kate Hardy said...

First name drawn from the hat for one of the Danger & Desire trilogy - Caroline. Please contact me kate(dot)hardy(at)btinternet(dot)com with your details, Caroline, and I'll get everything sorted :o) Thanks for taking part! (Still grinning here about the cows...)