Author Liz Carmichael has stopped by today with Guest Post and an Excerpt for the In The Shadow of Vesuvius blog tour.
Hi, Liz Carmichael here. First up I would like to thank Suzanne for giving me the opportunity to guest post today. It is very generous of her to give me this time to share a few words with her readers.
Where Do Writers Get Their Story Ideas?
This question comes up a lot, and I guess most of us have no idea half the time, though I can only speak for myself here.
Sometimes the title comes first. Other times it’s a first line, or just a line that sits with me until I do something about it.
Overhearing a conversation can set a writer’s mind racing. This happened to me with one story when I caught part of a conversation: a woman, at the next table, said to her friend. ‘If he fell down the stairs and cracked his skull open, I’d leave him there.’ I’m sure if that actually happened, she wouldn’t have left the poor guy lying there.
Still, those words niggled constantly until I sat at the computer and wrote my version of that story The Widowing of Millie. I’m sure you’ve guessed the type of story it was.
One project I put aside, because I had to get back to In the Shadow of Vesuvius and finish its prequel, is The Portal. That story came to me after a few words popped into my head one night as I was about to fall asleep. I had to reach out for pen and notepad to groggily write it down. The story wasn’t started on straight away, there were other things holding my attention, but it nagged and nagged until I got started on the story, which will now be completed.
One of the pieces of writing I had to submit when applying for the Dip. Art course - Professional Writing and Editing – was one I put together from a children’s story and a rhyme I learned as a child. Don’t ask me why I put those together, it just seemed a good idea at the time – and it did help me get into the course. I know this because it was the story the interviewing tutor took the greatest interest in.
A short piece, Mornings, came after thinking about how different children’s lives are in other countries, how some are working by age five or six helping keep the family fed. And how we take our lifestyles so much for granted.
The Shadow of Vesuvius came to me when I read about a young slave, with a child in her arms wearing a gold chain, was discovered during the uncovering of part of ancient Herculaneum. The image of those two young people haunted me. I had to write the story to give them a life.
Which of the many and varied ways of coming up with story ideas work best for you?
Now Read a Short Excerpt
Dominus and Domina came hurrying out of the inner room just as another violent tremor buckled the ground and brought down one of the temple walls.
Screams from above alerted us to the burning cinders and hurtling rocks bombarding the town.
‘We must go now to the Temple of Neptune. Come. Quickly!’ Octavius strode off to the tunnel, as usual without checking to see if we followed.
My heart raced. At last we were on our way to Neptune’s Temple close to the Neapolis gate: so much closer to my best path to freedom.
‘Help me up,’ I told Levi, ‘we have to hurry.’
‘You’ve a plan?’ He helped me anyway.
I gave no response to his questioning look. Instead I whispered, ‘My gratitude,
Fortuna,’ as Octavius’s second shout got us scurrying towards the tunnel entrance. But before I could reach the opening, an enormous smoking boulder plunged over the wall above Area Sacra.
Although born in Scotland and spent time in other countries, Liz is now happily settled in Melbourne, Australia.
She is an editor as well as a writer and avid reader - especially historical fiction - who loves researching, though she can get so caught up in research she forgets about the story she's researching for.
Liz also draws and paints for relaxation, and will do illustrations for her books whenever possible. She walks her daughter's dog because both need the exercise.
She has a Dip. Art(Professional Writing and Editing), and taught writing and editing for two years until the need to concentrate fully on her own writing took over again.
Her favourite authors, in no particular order, are: Sue Monk Kidd, Sara Donati, Geraldine Brooks, Vanora Bennett, Sarah Dunant, Cormac McCarthy, Markus Suzak, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Robert Harris. For Crime: Michael Connelly, Minette Walters, Jeffrey Deaver, and Dean Koontz for his crime with humour. Newest favourite authors are Anne Obrien and Pauline Gedge - writers of historical fiction, of course.
The book trailer for In the Shadow of Vesuvius was made by Chuck Pride of "American Pride Productions"