Someone asked me a while ago where I got all my ideas for stories from? The answer: whatever interests me.
One evening I was sitting having dinner in a small diner near Lille Station and noticed that the street, which had been empty for most of the day, was suddenly full of people carrying suitcases and bags having just arrived off a train. I had an idea then to write about this experience of how a city can suddenly change character. This has gone in my “future reference” file.
The idea for my newly released novel, Freedom Street #61, was a tour of the KGB headquarters in Riga. I had decided to return to Riga in the summer of 2014 after some friends had raved about the city enough to convince me that my previous impression was not a sound one. While there, I saw an advert for the KGB musuem and went along for a look. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a ticket for the whole museum so I decided to make another trip in October, which I did. I took the English language tour and whenb we had just finished the tour when the guide mentioned that no one had yet written the story of the building and the effect it had on the people of Riga. I was at home a couple of days later thinking about what I could write for my writing group meeting when I remembered that parting comment. A couple of hours later and I had the first few pages and over the next few months turned those pages into a story which ended with a visit to the KGB museum in Riga. That comment and the things I saw were my inpiration.
The story I am currently working on was triggered by a diary I was reading a few weeks ago from an emigre teacher working in Latvia at the beginning of WW2. I found reference to another diary kept by another English woman written around the same time and charting the same events. In the two diaries the women mention meeting each other. I found the first diary mentioned at the back of an old travel guide and then second diary while searching for more information on Lucy Addison. Thus was born my story.
Where does the inspiration come from? Where does the story come from? I think the answer is, from whatever gets inside your mind and makes you curious enough to want to explore it. Once an idea has been seeded then the task is to make it grow into a story someone will want to read.