Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Family bonds have never been so strong 1950s socialite, Noemí, receives a worrying letter from her recently married cousin, Catalina, and sets off to investigate. Catalina is now living with husband, Virgil, at his family home, High Place, a remote, dilapidated pile in which the family’s history and traditions are kept very Continue Reading

Out Now…

A long-lost plant hunter’s journal leads Evangeline to Chile on a quest for the World Tree. Can a tree heal her past? When Evangeline comes across a Victorian plant hunter’s journal at Kew, it is the sign she’s been waiting for. Its author, Edwin ‘Chile’ Morgan, claims to have discovered a living myth:  the World Continue Reading

Lost & Waiting: the Exhibition

Art is all around us. From the masterpieces in a museum to an advertisement, from cinema to a shoe style, from a conversation overheard to an obscure news article, the choice between tea or coffee, a choice of career, in science and nature, in the kitchen, at the station, art is inspiration.

As a writer, I might come across a picture on social media, or a news article may pique my interest. Often without realising it, these things plant the seed of an idea in my head. Over time, the idea germinates and comes to fruition in my writing.

I find it helpful to squirrel away pictures, video clips and articles which stand out to me. Later, if looking for inspiration, I turn to my folder of treasures and curios.

When writing a character—and settings can be characters as well—I find it helpful to have one or more pictures displayed on my desktop, to help bring them to life.

Usually, my fictional characters are a hybrid between various pieces of inspiration.

For example, the character of Victor, the art-collector in my novel, LOST & WAITING, was inspired by an advertising campaign popular in the ’80s, an Italian actor of the ’50s, a friend’s Mexican father, the audio guide of a Spanish cathedral, and an anti-hero of gothic literature.

The following art or artists appear in LOST & WAITING.

See also my blog on music as a muse.

Lost & Waiting: the Playlist

I prefer to write without external distractions, but I frequently play music as a precursor to writing, to access a certain mood.

Perhaps this is why music often finds its way into my work.

Evangeline, the protagonist of LOST & WAITING, has been unable to listen to music since she suffered a stillbirth. Everything changes when she embarks on a plant hunting expedition to Chile.

Not all the tracks listed here appear in my novel, but they were there in its formation.

For more on music as a muse to writers, see my review of Tyler Keevil’s talk on the subject for NovelNights, Bristol.

See also my blog on art as inspiration.

Fox as Symbol

Header photo: Joachim Munter This post looks at how the fox is portrayed across cultures in folklore and myth, and how this has influenced language and literature. The fox appears in the folklore of many cultures as a trickster with a double-identity, often with magic powers and the ability to transform. Its nature, cunning yet Continue Reading

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Marlon James Ribald, packed to the gods with African myths but not easy. Tracker’s quest, to find a missing boy, becomes a search for identity. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a masterclass in the art of writing dialogue. James’s quick fire repartee brings his array of characters to life. The novel is extraordinarily inventive, populated Continue Reading

Magic(al) Realism: the Magic of Myth

Zeus, father of the gods, transformed his love, Io, into a cow for fear of discovery by wife, Hera. She, knowing her husband well, saw through his ruse and begged Zeus for the cow, exclaiming how beautiful it was. Hera bade Argus of the hundred eyes to watch over the cow. Desperate, Zeus sent Hermes Continue Reading

Myths: Function, Recurrence, Character Roles and Archetypes

The World Tree (axis mundi) is a mytheme or archetype which recurs in many cultures. It is a colossal tree linking heaven with earth and the underworld. In Norse mythology it appears as Yggdrasil, the Mayans called it yax imix che (Blue-Green Tree of Abundance), Buddists have the Bodhi (Bo tree). In other forms it Continue Reading

Myths: In the beginning … was the archetype

Clytie, the Sunflower Maiden: Clytie the water nymph would emerge from her pool every day to comb her golden hair and bathe in the warmth of the sun. One day, she caught sight of Apollo as he drove his chariot across the sky. Dazzled by his strength and beauty, she fell in love. For nine Continue Reading