Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Art of Inspiration

René Magritte’s painting, The Empire of Lights) was the inspiration for William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973) movie including the famous scene in the film where Father Merrin first appears outside of possessed Regan MacNeil's home.
As an author, I'm often asked, where do you get your ideas? It's a common interview question and I think the most honest answer, for me, is EVERYWHERE.

Ideas are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the colors we see, the sounds we hear, the textures we feel whether they warm or chill. Everything contains a kernel of inspiration, a spark that can contribute to a scene, a character, a twist in the plot.

One of the most visual inspirations is through art. In a painting, there is a story, and translating that story into words is pure magic. In this sense, art is the inspiration.

The Siren by John Waterhouse

A new series I'm writing under AK Wilder, for example, came to life at the behest of John Waterhouse's The Siren. It has also given rise to a paranormal romance novella, Blood and Water and an urban fantasy novel, The Blood in the Beginning.

Can you feel the inspiration coming from these paintings?

Mona Lisa by Leonardo Di Vinci 
Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code is powerfully plot driven, the main character being the Mona Lisa. Film or book - which brought the art to life the most for you?

The Blue Scarf by Tamara de Lempicka
The Last Nude by Ellis Avery found inspiration in Tamara de Lempicka's life and art. It's a story of a struggling American, Rafaela Fano, who avoiding the path to prostitution by agreeing to model for an artist... the results are as sultry as Lempicka’s Jazz Age paintings.

John Singer Sargent’s Madame X
The novel, I am Madame X by Gioia Diliberto. brings to life the image by John Singer Sargent in a way the painting, in its time, could not. Unveiled in Paris in 1884, it met with shock and ridicule for being too provocative, too risque. The book, in 2003, met with no such objection.

Vermeer's View of Delft

Finally, in Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu, the elderly writer, Bergotte, visits a Dutch art exhibit and, while gazing at a detail of Vermeer's View of Delft, drops dead.

Many critics search for what it is in the painting that killed Bergotte and triggered his final thoughts in the book.

I love how these pieces of art morph into a character in the story, answering questions as well as asking new ones.

If you have a favourite book born of a work of art, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

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Kim Falconer's New YA Fantasy Series is out in 2019 - The Bone Throwers. 

Also, check her urban fantasy out now - The Blood in the Beginning - and Ava Sykes Novel and the SFF Quantum Enchantment Series

You can find Kim on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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