When seeking inspiration for what I write, I almost always turn to the senses. I never write in silence; some kind of rock or heavy metal music plays in the background to get the words flowing. But to spark the story in the first place, I look for visual inspiration.
In a truly serendipitous discovery on Tumblr, I found the art of Italian painter and sculptor, Nicola Samori. His subverted Baroque style is a direct challenge to the viewer, and as I looked through his work, I felt a shiver chase down my spine. The dark beauty of his paintings makes my soul sing. They are a Gothic author’s dreams lifted from the mind and page, and translated into a series of paintings that will provide me with inspiration for years to come.
When I finally pick up that first million dollar advance, one of Samori’s paintings are right at the top of my list to buy.
All images are the copyright of Nicola Samori, whose website is here and Artsy profile here.
It struck me this week, as I composed an email to a friend on the other side of the world who had made the mistake of asking what I was writing at the moment, that if the security services had any reason to seize my computer, I would have a lot of very awkward questions to answer. This week alone, the topics I’ve researched for (different) stories on my write list range from the administration and taste of cyanide through to cremation urns and the amount of ashes usually within them, taking in hot bearded pirates and medieval bondage along the way. To be fair, that’s a reasonably tame week when previous searches have included the penalties for spousal murder, and how long the average human male would take to bleed to death from a severed jugular vein. Don’t get me wrong; I love writing, and more often to not I find myself gravitating towards horror of some description. I write across a lot of genres, yet there is nearly always some element of horror within them.
These days I tend to favour psychological horror over out-and-out gorefests. I love reading gore, and it absolutely has its place in the genre, but it’s rare that I find it bleeding through into my stories. The prevalence of psychological terror in my work and the topics I find myself researching, though, means it’s often very difficult to fully switch off and detach myself from the world of imagination. It’s hard to compartmentalise the stories from the real world when I immerse myself so deeply in them whilst I’m weaving them together.
I suppose that’s one of the real perils of writing, especially in this genre. It’s all too easy to let the fictional world consume you.