Writers are often asked where they get their inspiration from. The answer is inspiration comes from many different sources. I get inspiration from people, events, objects, places – you name it. All it takes is a little time out and suddenly I have a story.
I love Kenilworth Castle. I’ve been around the Castle itself many times, taken shedloads of pictures and listened to the interpretive guides. I’ve done even more country walks around the environs of the Castle. It was on one of these walks that I was inspired to write Drake’s story as told my series, The Knight of Kenilworth. On that particular walk, my friends were discussing the doings of the town, and as we walked, as often happens, I fell behind and started to daydream (in that way perhaps like a typical writer – not always the best company!). It’s during these moments that stories often come to me. And that is what happened on that day. As I daydreamed about what the Castle must have been like in the time of Robert Dudley, Drake just popped into my head and the story was off. Like a thread to another time and place, I only had to follow it.
In order to give the books an authentic feel, previously, of course, I’ve done lots of research and read everything I could get my hands on about the Castle. But this week, English Heritage was kind enough to hold an event called Warfare and Worship at the Castle. I couldn’t resist the temptation to do more research. I couldn’t wait to hear what our guide, a member of the Kenilworth History and Archaeology Society, had to say about the Castle and be able to ask questions of someone who knows the history of the Castle well. And because I love the Castle, I was eager to hear the entire history – not just about Tutor times – because I also have inspiration for another story of the Castle during the time of John O’Gaunt. That’s how amazing the place is!
In a way, you could say that the Castle itself is as much a star of the books as the characters. And that’s all the inspiration I need.