Over to Henri:
When Kate asked me to help her celebrate her 50th book, I was delighted, and in total awe. “50 books? How's that even possible?” But Kate has shown us that it is possible, and it's a great pleasure for me to be here.
It made me realise that in order to write 50 books – or even just one – writers needs to have a steady source of inspiration. Obviously this can be as varied as there are people on the planet, and how, where, and when it strikes is unpredictable, to say the least.
I draw mine from my enviroment. Not that I'm surrounded by rolling hills, ancient woodlands, and neolithic remains (sometimes I wish I were...); instead I live in a multi-cultural, multi-faith, and multi-lingual suburb of London. It's cramped, noisy, polluted, with chewing-gum stained pavements, an ever-changing high street, and eagle-eyed traffic wardens on the prowl.
And I love it.
Daily, it's bustling like a beehive with a multitude of goods, foods, and services on offer, and you'll hear any number of languages when walking down the street. We have Indian, Greek, Middle-Eastern, Italian, and Caribbean restaurants, Polish delis, Lebanese greengrocers, Somali cafés, Chinese takeaways, Irish pubs, Turkish kebab shops, an Italian ice cream parlour, a Filipino barber, a Spanish tapas place, an Arabic learning centre, a Vietnamese nail artist, a Ukrainian tailor, and a good ol' English chippie.
For believers, God, in all His forms, can be worshipped everywhere. Within a 1½ mile radius of my road there are 5 C of E churches, 1 Catholic, 2 Baptist, 1 7th Day Adventist, 1 Assyrian Christian, 1 mosque, 2 gurdwaras, 1 Hindu temple, and 1 synagogue. Festivals are a-plenty, some religious, some not, like the jazz and comedy festivals, and the London Mela.
Having said that, the inspiration for my first novel came from a completely different corner of the UK. It was spending a couple of days on the North Norfolk coast which inspired me to write my romantic suspense novel, Up Close. Here's a brief blurb:
Too close for comfort…
When Dr Lia Thompson’s grandmother dies unexpectedly, Lia is horrified to have to leave her life in America and return to a cold and creaky house in Norfolk. But as events unfold, she can’t help feeling that there is more to her grandmother’s death than meets the eye.
Aidan Morrell is surprised to see Lia, his teenage crush, back in town. But Aidan’s accident when serving in the navy has scarred him in more ways than one, and he has other secrets which must stay hidden at all costs, even from Lia.
As Lia comes closer to uncovering the truth, she is forced to question everything she thought she knew. In a world of increasing danger, is Aidan someone she can trust?
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