It’s really exciting to see the UK produce some fantastic young adult authors and to watch it become a very popular genre over here.
On February 28th the UKYA Extravaganza is taking place at Waterstones in Birmingham, which will see a flock of UK young adult authors come together, meet fans, do readings and signings. I’m also told there will be cake, the crux of any good event.
This is the part where I wish I could tell you how to get tickets but they all sold out in less than 24 hours, which shows how popular YA is in the UK now. Please let me know if you’re going because it would be awesome to meet up and peruse Waterstones together.
As part of the blog tour for UKYA Extravaganza I was paired with Blackfin Sky author, Kat Ellis. When she told me about her books I thought ‘whoa, where do you get the inspiration for that’, so I’m going to hand you over to Kat and let her tell you about where she gets her inspiration from.
Recharging the Inspiration-Batteries
One night when I was six years old, a creature with no face tapped on my bedroom window, whispering to me on breath that smelled like smoke, “I’m your muse, and I have a story idea. It’s a really good one about—”
I stared at the creature levelly and said, “If you’ve got such a good idea, why don’t you write it?” Then I closed the curtains and went back to sleep, ignoring the creature’s cries that he had all my inspiration in his satchel and I’d never be a good writer without him, blah blah blah.
…Yeah, that probably never happened. What did happen – twenty-five years later – was that my first book was published, and it was called BLACKFIN SKY. There are no faceless creatures in it, but there is a haunted weathervane, and a girl who returns from the dead.
Just like any other morning, Skylar Rousseau is late for school, but when she is greeted by a blanket of silent stares upon entering Blackfin High, she discovers that the whole town thought she fell from the pier and drowned on her sixteenth birthday three months earlier. However, Sky remembers the last three months living her life as normal, and since she is a full, living breathing human being, she has no idea whose body is buried underneath her tombstone. Everyone seems reluctant to help except her steadfast friend and crush, Sean . . . and a secretive man who draws her to a mysterious circus in the woods.
Sky must wade through impossibilities and lies to discover the truth about what happened to her, which proves to be a bit difficult when someone is following her every move with the intent to harm her. And Sky’s only hope of finding the answers she seeks may have already been turned to ashes.
I find it hard to say where I get my inspiration from, since I’m not lucky enough to have stories come to me wholesale in dreams (this is what happens when you spurn your muse in favour of sleep, apparently), but I have 3 key things I do to recharge my inspiration-batteries.
- I go to really old places. National Trust sites, castles, churches, monuments – anywhere that is steeped in history. When I learn about what happened to certain people in a certain time and place, I often feel my brain sneaking off on a path of its own. What if that person hadn’t died then? What if that crusade had ended differently? What if they’d discovered a demonic portal underneath the castle…? I’ll rearrange the pieces of a story, adding some of my own, seeing what fits together and what doesn’t. Sometimes I’ll get a full novel idea that way, or maybe just see a new angle to a plot-problem I’ve been working on.
- I take inspiration from pictures. I’m quite keen on photography, and love going out adventuring with my camera. But one of the most inspiring parts for me creatively is taking the photos apart and reworking them with imaging software. You can do so much with the production side of photography to make simple images look magical or creepy or intense, and doing that has stirred more than one story idea for me.
- I play music. I’ve got a beat-up old piano and a couple of beloved guitars that I mess around with when I need some musical stimulation, or I quite often cruise Youtube for new artists and songs to evoke the right mood for writing stories.
It boils down to needing to surround myself with things that make me think and feel as intensely as possible, and then my inspiration can carry over into my writing. That’s the idea, anyway. If that doesn’t work, I’ll have to crawl back to my faceless muse with a bottle of whiskey as a peace-offering.
Kat Ellis is a YA author from North Wales, where she lives with her husband and evil cat. She grew up immersed in ancient myths about dragons and giants, and spent most of her childhood getting into trouble while exploring the local cemetery. She blogs with other fabulous UK YA authors at Author Allsorts. Blackfin Sky is her debut novel (out now), and Breaker will be released in Spring 2016.
Kat will be appearing at UKYA Extravaganza in Birmingham along with 34 other UK YA authors on 28th February.
Where else you can find her: