A Little Fact, A Lot of Fiction by Deborah Abela
I am a coward.
I always have been, but I'm a coward who loves to be told scary stories. Not a good fit, I know, but one that has kept me glued to spooky takes over many, many years. From Bloody Mary, to the Flying Dutchman and those spooky disappearances that have occurred over the Bermuda Triangle, I loved them all and I guess from a young age it wasn't about knowing had had occurred but the delicious possibility of what could have happened.
For a writer, the idea of what if is a constant question, swooping around in our heads like unruly magpies. It's how we operate every day and fashion stories from a tiny miniscule idea. We look, we ponder, we ponder some more and the beginnings of an entire novel emerge from those wonderful lovely two words. It thrills and terrifies me even after having written twenty novels.
Writers often start from a point of reality and fascination, and meander or sometimes run from there to create their stories. My novel Grimsdon began with my frustration about the reluctance to believe the science of climate change and became a book about flooded cities and brave kids fighting sea monsters and evil harbour lords. Max Remy started from real adventures I'd had, a love of cartoons from my TV producing days and Mel Brooks' ever funny, Get Smart. The Ghost Club series was inspired by my love of Charles Dickens, which led me to the discovery that he had set up his own Ghost Club in England in 1862. A club that still exists today.
For Dickens, it began because of a belief in ghosts, of which he said he saw plenty, but also from his enjoyment of the fact that not everything in the world could be empirically explained.
This is one of the joys of writing . . . the possibility of what could happen next and where your characters could end up? There is a lovely moment in writing where, instead of me directing the characters, they begin to move by themselves. They talk and have conversations I'd never anticipated, they may adopt a stance or attitude or share a belief with another character that seems to come from them and not me. Peter Carey calls this the osteopathic click, when all your hard work and thought that has gone into a character creates a person who feels real and fleshy, with all their faults and flares.
I borrow from people, too, to help create my characters until they come into their own. It takes time and patience, throwing ideas and sometimes characters out who just aren't working.
So from that group of men who came together to discuss ghosts, came my discovery of them almost 150 years later and the question of . . . what if I created my own club that believed in ghosts and two of the youngest catchers were kids? 11-year-old twins, Angeline and Edgar Usher and together with a series of misfit characters they help to keep the world free from pesky and sometimes bad tempered ghosts.
'You can pick on me all you like and tell everyone you know that I'm weird, but what my family does is no more surprising than someone's mum who's an accountant or dad who's a fireman. One fixes numbers, the other fixes fires, our family fixes problems with ghosts.' Angeline Usher to bully Travis from Ghost Club The Haunted School.
Small scribblings, a series of what ifs and another novel comes to life.
Visit the next stop on Deborah's blog tour:
Did you miss the previous stop? See http://www.writingbar.com
To see all the stops on the tour see http://www.DeborahAbela.com
The Ghost Club picture source: http://www.armchairparanormal.com/a-short-history-of-the-original-ghost-club/
Read our reviews for Deborah's books:
The haunted school
The new kid
The remarkable secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen