Guest Author Ailsa Abraham. Author of the Award nominated Shaman's Drum. Number One in Amazon category.
SO AILSA, WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?
Thank you for inviting me, Catriona.
I'm sure that I have bored the living daylights out of people with advertising Shaman's Drum so I'd like to chat a bit about the above. It's a question I'm asked all the time. Well, no, whenever I say that I'm an novelist, actually, or I'm walking around in a T-shirt depicting me holding my book (shameless, isn't it?) Mainly it comes from French people. Quite logically really as I live in France and so most of the folks I get chatting to are French. Their reaction is incredulity and the question “How?” because imagination is something rather foreign to them and reserved for the select few “artistic types.”
It's rather refreshing because the usual reaction of Anglophones (go on, you've guessed it) is “Oh yes well I'm writing a book or going to or will do when I have time...” Something along the lines of an inferred “Don't think you're anything special because the world and his dog are all writing books”.
Well just for anyone who isn't writing a book or likes to know how other authors do it. I am a cinematophile. (I just invented that word but you know what I mean). I see things as films. Maybe it is a generation thing but even when reading I see it on the big screen. That is how Shaman's Drum started. Just a movie clip that sprang into my head unannounced while I was sitting out in the back garden.
Scene – a walled convent garden with a nun sat in a chair on her own, in the shade of a tree. Suddenly a man in monk's robes bursts through the wooden door in the wall and strides over to her. It is obvious to me from the expression on her face that he has come to rescue her.
I couldn't let it go. It haunted me. Who were they? What happened next? I had to get it all down and as I worked, my own background contributed. What if they weren't Christians? What if they were pagans from different orders? What if the woman had been forced into the convent for some crime as in the Middle Ages? My imagination began to run riot. Supposing that paganism had now become the dominant religion in the world? There would still be factions. I have been in this world long enough to know that pagan is as vague as “Muslim”. There are so many different varieties.
This is how, from one scene, I arrived at a whole novel, centred on lovers from different sides of the religious tracks, given one last chance to be together if they accepted a seemingly-impossible mission. Now, of course, readers are coming back and asking for more, which is highly gratifying. Iamo and Riga have found friends out there in the wide world and they are going to have to tell the back story.
So here I sit now, writing the prequel as my work-in-progress. How did the major religions get banned. What would be so important that this would be accepted? When did paganism in all its forms fill the void left by mainstream faiths? Most importantly, what was the crime that led to Riga being imprisoned in the convent in the first place. So watch out. There are already some pretty impressive movie-trailer scenes going on in my head, including the terrifying Demon Prince. So watch out for Riga and Iamo, The Beginning (except it won't be called that, of course...well it might be if it were a film!)
BIO – Ailsa Abraham retired early from a string of jobs, ending up with teaching English to adults. She has lived in France for over twenty years and is married with no children but six grandchildren. Her passion is motorbikes which have taken the place of horses in her life now that ill-health prevents her riding. She copes with Bipolar Condition, a twisted spine and increasing deafness with her usual wry humour – “well if I didn't have all those, I'd have to work for a living, instead of writing, which is much more fun.”. Her ambition in life is to keep breathing and maybe move back to the UK. She has no intention of stopping writing.
As Ailsa Abraham :
Shaman's Drum published by Crooked Cat, available on Amazon.
(nominated for the People's Choice Book Prize)
Four Go Mad in Catalonia – self-published, available from Smashwords
Twitter - @ailsaabraham
Facebook – Ailsa Abraham