Why do we write what we write?

Someone asked me recently.

‘Where do you get the ideas to write what you write? Why do you write about the topics you do?’

I hadn’t really thought much about it until I watched a recent interview with Kate Grenville and she said:- writers write to answer a question…. that they are by nature curious.

I thought about that, about my own writing process and I think it is true, I do ask myself questionsand I am curious about the things that I choose tow rite about.

It starts with something that captures my imagination. Something that makes me ask.. how does that work?

The Veiled Heart started as a writing exercise. I was given ” a teacher and mechanic meet in a shop buying condoms and end up having sex in a car’. We  I had to rejig that a bit for a Victorian story but the question I had to ask myself was:- why would a normally reserved and respectable Victorian woman have sex in a carriage with a stranger?

It’s true, I could have just had a liberal promiscuous character but that wasn’t interesting to me. I wanted to know what would make anyone of us do something like that, what circumstances would make it a step we would take.

The start of the story gives insight into the culmination of life events that made her take such a dramatic and unexpected leap into the sensual world. The rest of the novel was seeing what would happen after that event and resolving the aspects of her past which drove her to take that leap.

The Bound Heart came from a character my writing friend threw out one night with a group of writers… Jamie, the bookbinder, who was into bondage. We all laughed but days later the idea of a bookbinder.. a man of precision and into rope.. I started to wonder what kind of rope, who he was, why he was the way he was, what he was looking for.  It left me wondering where the passion for rope work might come from, what some of the underlying elements were, the philosophy, the beauty. I wanted a story that explored that. I wanted a story that would take readers who might have images of bondage as a dark act, one of pain and humiliation and show a world of rope that was all about beauty, about sensuality and connection, that had a deep sense of history.

I also wanted a story where it was not so much the heroine being drawn into a sensually dark world but a man being broken by a sensually light world. I wanted a story that showed the power of intimacy rather than what acts you do.

With both Novels I feel I answered  those questions….to my satisfaction at least!

The Painted Heart, the next story coming out in The Velvet Basement series, is a beauty and the beast story. I’m looking at what the alchemy is that turns a beast into a prince… Why can we sexually want a man or woman he don’t necessarily like. And how sometimes getting what your heart really wants is the scariest thing of all.