(Before starting this post, I must apologize for changing the blog design...it was just too dark and it wasn't workin' for me. Tahereh says "DON'T DECIDE TO REMODEL YOUR HOUSE WHILE YOU HAVE COMPANY"...oddly enough, it was after reading her post that I decided I need to change a couple things, but I promise not to keep doing it. I understand the dangers of going too far - my eyebrows have been over-plucked before and not liked the experience! Anywho...on to the actual post.)
I was looking for a book to read on the train between London, Paris and Bordeaux. A paperback caught my eye...The Thief Lord...that's a good title. I started it as soon as I'd said goodbye to my mom and sister. I was immediately transported.
The plot was surprising; every time I thought it was over, there was a new problem! I didn't have a clue how it might end. The characters were charming, without being too sterotypical. But the star of the show, for me, was the setting; Venice. I found in the story the magic spell the city had cast on me during my honeymoon there.
Then, someone slipped on a wooden bridge, the Ponte d'Accademia. I flipped to the back...this author, Cornelia Funke, must have been there! I too had slipped in that very place. Someone who had not been there could not possibly know.
I found my answer in an interview with Cornelia. She said that she had indeed been inspired by her stay in Venice and that she hoped children would visit the city and see how much magic is in the real world. I love this example of taking in what is around us and pouring it back into our writing. The authenticity is worth it.
I was talking to my father about this subject last week, saying I needed to change a story to a setting that I knew. Of course, it'd be a paralell reality to make the story work ... my dad chuckled. "Because that's something you know about." Hmm. Maybe I should take my own advice!
Other examples of real-life writing...