Where Ideas Come From

One of the first questions a writer is asked is: where do you get your ideas? 

For me, it can be a picture that inspires a quirky character who drives the narrative (as in The Department of Curiosities). For other stories it’s a phrase that catches my imagination – as in ‘An Eye for Detail’ and Tomorrow, When I Die. 

Documentaries seem to trigger ideas for many of my stories, tickling my imagination with ‘what if’? I begin to formulate alternative explanations, especially if they can provide a mystery to intrigue the ever-curious Viola. Doctor Jack was one such story. What if Jack the Ripper was being organised by a secret society in their nefarious plot to take over the Empire? It almost wrote itself.

From the Depths was one such story. This time it was a documentary on the Loch Ness monster I had seen a few years ago. A story had been bubbling in the back of my brain, and Viola demanded she get her shot at it. After all, she’d need a holiday after her recent shenanigans. A holiday at the sea was the perfect tonic.

But what would happen if there was something lurking in the waters off St Andrew’s beach? And the story was born.

“Viola needs a holiday. But even while on holiday at the beach … there are things afoot.”

A Cog is Dead song inspired the title: From the Depths. Perfect.

The eBook of the novelette, From the Depths, should be available as eBook, later this week (barring electronic hiccups). Tomorrow, When I Die (also novelette) should be available as eBook the following week – just in time for it’s launch at the Steampunk Festival on 19th August.

  

The last novella in this current series, The Illusioneer, is planned for eBook publication in September, with the paperback compilation available in late September/early October.

Each will be priced at $1.99 – as they are longer stories.

And here’s an excerpt from From the Depths:

A shriek pierced the air. Viola flinched. Brine filled her mouth and rushed up her nostrils. She spluttered, thrust her legs downward into the deep chilly water and kicked to keep her head above water.

Men shouted, their cries unintelligible through water-logged eardrums. The other bathing machine thundered into life. Chains rattled, the engine strained. Frenzied splashes of water accompanied its retreat.

The water trembled around her, pounding on her chest. Viola gasped for air. A new undercurrent tugged at her legs. She rubbed the salt from her eyes and searched the surrounding water. Nothing.v

Bubbles tickled her body and erupted on the surface. Something solid grazed her calf. Viola’s heart jumped. The Lurker? Goosebumps crawled over her skin.

There’s no such thing as monsters.

Water rumbled and churned. Waves sloshed against her torso. She jerked her knees up to her chest, struggling to untangle her limbs from the snarl of the heavy woollen skirt of her bathing costume.

There’s no such thing as monsters. There’s no such thing as monsters.

Viola shivered. She had drifted further from the bathing machine than she had thought; the candy-striped change box was nearly eighty yards away, the shore even more distant.

A crowd was gathering on the shoreline, waving their arms and shouting.

“Get out of the water!”

Two men swam toward her. Another bathing machine trundled in their wake. The sea hissed. Too close.

Spurts of water burst from the surface. A large shadow lurked beneath her.

Viola’s heart raced, her breathing shallow. She wanted to run, to flee, to swim to the safety of the change box, but her arms refused to move.

There’s no such thing as monsters.

The shadow turned and glided southward towards the headland. A trace of bubbles marked its course, fading as the shadow disappeared into deeper waters.

The two men splashed closer. Uncomfortably close. Their bare arms glowed white against the dark water.

“Get out of the water!”

***

Words and photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.


One thought on “Where Ideas Come From

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *