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Collated Answers from WW interviews

What inspires you to write?
Adrian MeadI write because I have to. Never thought I'd say that as it sounds so wanky but it's true. I get edgy and down if I can't write or make something, so I am always working and happiest when I have a deadline.
Some of my favourite jobs have been when it's all gone totally pear shaped because a writer has walked or been fired. You get the call to rush in and do rewrites. The pressure's massive but if you can make the insane deadline you walk away with a fat cheque.
Al Hunter AshtonThe CSA/Maintenance/alimony
Alan WilliamsIím tempted to say, Ďanything and everythingí however itís more than that. I like a challenge and virtually all of my stories begin as a title around which I weave the plot.

As examples, I offer The Cool Dark Place, The Pastel Blue Kangaroo, Twice In A Blue Moon, The Day Of The Giant Chook, The Neverwhen and The Goldilocks Place.
If Iím stuck for a story idea, I often chose a song title as inspiration.
The Same Old Song, The Pied Piper, Substitute are all songs I enjoy and I once again based stories on these titles.
Ali McNamaraIím an only child, so I had plenty of time to day dream while I was growing up. I think this helped fuel my very over-active imagination. Now Iíve found an outlet for that Iím just putting it to good use!
Andrew BlackmanThat feeling I talked about before. Trying to achieve that again, to say what I want to say, is always the lure that keeps me coming back for more.
Anne BrookeMy own hang-ups. The desire to get something down on paper that I can feel in my gut. Dreams and fantasies. And, as I made my choice not to have children many years ago, the need to leave something behind when I'm dead also drives me.
Ardella JonesA funny phrase or absurd situation for poems and comedy sketches. For fiction, it may be personal experience or wanting to recreate somewhere exciting that I have visited or a strange world I have had access to. Iím a wimp really so I like to put cool characters into situations in which I am hopeless. I write humour but sometimes it is inspired by anger. I kill off characters based on people who annoy me.
Beanie BabyBecause I have to go out to work, I can really only find time to write properly in the evenings and I have a lovely little study - a snug, more like, where most of my books are in shelves lining the walls and I have a desk and an ergonomic chair, a filing cabinet, and files and folders in teetering piles, but I love it and I work well there. I also love to write in coffee shops - Caffe Nero's is a particular favourite. I find the soft music and the aroma of good coffee paricularly condusive. Having said that, though, I can write anywhere and often do - at the tram-stop, on the bus, in a queue. if I get an idea, I have to wite it down.
Bill SpenceThe desire to see my work in print and my books on the shelves but I look on that as motivation. What inspires me to write in my case should be WHO inspires me to write? The answer to that - my wife and a very dear friend.
Cally TaylorEmotion, imagination and a need to create something.
Candi MillerA random sentence. For example, Salt & Honey started when I read that at a certain point in southern African history, one could obtain a licence to shoot a Bushman.
Candy Denman Itís usually something very minor- a story in the local paper, a snatch of conversation on the bus, an anecdote down the pub, or something someone tells me about their lives that grabs my interest and makes me start thinking about the ďbut what if ?Ē
Caroline RanceNot much really. I have to get along without inspiration most of the time.
Cassandra ClareLife. A snatch of overheard conversation, a sentence in a book, a piece
of music, coming across an interesting or unusual fact. Anything can be
Catherine RichardsThis is going to sound really pretentious but I like the idea that even if I got abducted by aliens or buried by a freak avalanche or something (likely I know) there will be something left behind. The thought that my words and ideas are sitting gathering dust on the shelf of someoneís bookcase somewhere, regardless of whether Iím around, is sort of comforting.
Cathy GlassAnything and everything, but particularly an injustice. If I see or hear something that affects me I have to put pen to paper. Even my two (as yet unpublished) novels were inspired by injustice, although one is quite light-hearted, and satirical in its narration. I think we have to be moved in order to write successfully and from the heart.
Christina CourtenayGoing to writersí conferences, talks and workshops always gives me a buzz and I usually come out of there motivated and energised. Also being with other writers, chatting about ideas and characters. I often do ďbrainstormingĒ sessions with one of my writing buddies and itís great to bounce ideas off someone else like that.
Claire MossIt's hard to talk about it without sounding very pretentious, but I have found, since starting to write properly, that I now am unable not to write.
Clare SambrookCuriosity and the rent.
Courttia NewlandThe world I see around me. Untold stories.
Craig BaxterDeadlines. Essential. There was a period last Summer when I had no deadlines at all and I ground to a complete halt and got quite despondant. Luckily a deadline came along and I gratefully climbed on board.
Danny RhodesInspiration can come from anywhere; a news story; a thing somebody says; anywhere at all. The trick, I think, is not to rely on inspiration alone. That can be a very slow process and not conducive to making writing any type of career.

I think I write because I want to leave something behind, a body of work thatís respected for instance. Also, itís the only thing Iím any good at that I might get somewhere with!
Dawn FinchIt sounds cheesy Ė but everything and anything! I think that maybe I have always looked at the world askew. As I child I saw the hidden darkness in everything and, Iím told, that it does come out in my books. I think that maybe I look at the veneer of the world and try to see what lays beneath Ė the world just out of our grasp Ė the world that twitches behind the curtains. So everything inspires me and I keep a notebook in my bag always and constantly make notes of things that occur to me.
Deborah Swift
Iím inspired by real events and often use those as a starting point to work from. From there I Ďimagine outwards,í like building clay onto an armature. In the case of The Ladyís Slipper it was coming across the actual wild flower of that name on one of my walks - an odd event as the flower had a guard standing by it to make sure it did not get picked. Curious, as to why a wild flower warranted such attention, I followed it up. I added some fascinating research about local Quaker history, a dash of intrigue Ė and hey prestoÖ.
Diane SamuelsBeing alive. Conflict and discord in myself and in the world around me and a desire to work it through to harmony.
Domenica De RosaSo far I have been inspired by Italy and by my family. The big test will be if I can write a novel without an Italian in it!
Elizabeth BuchanI never know. It just sneaks up on me unbidden Ė I may be talking or reading - and, suddenly, I have an idea for a novel.
Elizabeth SpellerItís a sort of neurosis, I think! I canít not write. I express almost everything in my life in writing.
Emilia di Girolamo Good stories needing to be told.
Eva SalzmanA phrase, like a song-riff. Nature, beauty, sorrow, pain, rage, injustice, ignoranceÖa combination of these. The Insignificant pointing to the Significant. The curtain drawn aside, the wizardís machinery revealed, which doesnít mean the magic is destroyed. With a version of enlightenment comes some kind of unity. You can still be taken in by the illusion you yourself create. Whatever the inspiration, I need to be surprised, preferably by myself.
Fiona RobynMy novels are inspired by the protagonists Ďturning up in my headí Ė I get to know them slowly and then try and tell their story. Iím just the typist!
Gary DavisonNot sure youíd call it inspiration. I just love doing it. If Iím not writing something new Iím messing about editing for hours.
George SzirtesAlmost anything can inspire given the occasion. I seem to have written a good deal about history, art, human fate, semi-conscious dream states, ideas, and intimate relationships. A great many situations and events can touch chords that echo in that terrain: it could be the movements of a bird on a fence, a photograph, a colour, a city. At bottom it is, I suspect, apprehension, vivacity and mortality. I suppose most poetry is that.

Gillian CrossGetting an idea out of the blue and feeling that it has a lot of substance to it.
Gillian McClureI think places inspire me to write; places Iíve known from my childhood. While Iíve been a RLF fellow at Kent University Iíve been thinking about a story set in Kent where I used to be taken hop picking in the early 1950s when I was a tiny child.
Gordon and WilliamsRG: Fear of failure and a basic, irrational urge?

BW: Death, sex, and other peopleís money.
Helen BlackI have nothing of the tortured artist about me. If Iíve scheduled some time to work then thatís what I do. I plan or write or do publicity.
Iím far too tough/practical/northern to wait for inspiration.
Helen CastorIíve always loved history, and itís a privilege to spend my working life grappling with the past and constructing the best versions I can of the lives of people I find fascinating.
Helen McWilliamsEverything and anything!
Jae WatsonNoticing the weirdness/beauty of life and of peopleís behaviour; feeling passionately about certain issues and placesÖhaving a lot of baggage.
James BurgeThe desire to communicate, the desire to show off, the desire to work something out for myself. Not really sure
Jane ElmorI think for me it's poetic justice! Perhaps in real life it doesn't always happen, which is why it's so great to be able to dole it out for your characters! Like a lot of writers writing feels like something I have to do, even though my first publishing deal has come later rather than sooner. During times I haven't been writing I'm always shadowed by a niggling, frustrated feeling that there's something really important I should be doing rather than temping or housework, or even having fun. If everything you see and hear seems to you like 'good material' you are cursed to be a writer.
Jane RogersIdeas I want to understand. Place. Mood.

A shopping habit
Jenn AshworthThe things I'm not able to say, but want someone else to hear, I suppose. Ideas that I can't quite see or articulate unless I can get them down on paper.
Jenny Eclair Can't do anything else and too old to waitress. I also like the idea of oldEnglish teachers spinning in their graves. So- spite really.
Jill McGiveringI have always loved writing. The sense of engagement with the characters is an intense and addictive pleasure. There is a saying that writing is 1 per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration. Certainly it does involve a lot of determination and sheer hard work but when the writing does flow, it is deeply satisfying.
Jim YoungerI canít say anything inspires me to write, unless itís maybe something very deep in me that I carry from childhood. I think it must be that. Iíve always told stories - lies, quite frankly, like the time I told my dinner table at infant school about my uncle being drowned on the submarine Thetis. My mother was a dinner lady, so I told my pals not to mention it to her, because she was very upset. Devious, eh? I got the idea from the magazine Reveille. An image, a voice, a phrase, a story Ö anything could start me off.
John MurrayMy passions I suppose and my obsessions. Jazz Etc is all about my favourite music jazz and its impact on its characters. It's also about romantic love which is another obsession of mine. Murphy's Favourite Channels was inspired by my getting a satellite dish and going digital with telly and radio. Going from 4 channels to 400 channels(even though most of them are incredible rubbish) I found mindbogglingÖif that experience doesnít inspire you, what will?

The other thing that inspires me is character. In a 19th century tradition I aim for rich characterisation and even though I'm a comic writer I aim for a kind of moral analysis of the characters. John Dory has a Christian theme which is more or less buried until you get to the end. A lot of people have responded warmly to that book and it gratifies me that people aren't put off by a Christian 'message'.

I suppose I'm also obsessed with language. I grew up talking Cumbrian dialect and I read Sanskrit at Oxford and I think that explains an obsession with comic punning and wordplay!
John RitchieAs I have written, in my piece ĎThe problem with being a writerí it is a compulsion, a need to get the stories roaring around in my head down on to paper so I have some kind of peace and control, even if I know that control is actually illusory, and that I am only pretending to know what my characters are going to do next. I have lost count of the number of times a story has taken on a life of its own ítwixt my head and the printed page.

Jon HaylettItís not an inspiration, itís an urge, and I have this theory that itís a gift inherited from generations of storytellers. Having said this, I believe I write well because I draw on the experiences Iíve had in my wanderings across the world. To have met, and lived and worked with such a variety of people, to have seen some quite wonderful and wild places, to have experienced fear and privation and exhilaration - these give me the makings for my stories.
Jonathan WolfmanThese days itís the movies, plays, series and acting performances that I love. Early on it was a much more elemental drive to express myself.
Josa YoungLife and love and passion and the misguided assumptions about life people make - influenced by where they come from and what has happened in their families going back generations.
Judith JohnsonPeople.
Julia BellHuman ironies, injustices, to do something new with language, to put the world to rights, to investigate character . . . Margaret Atwood lists at great length all the reasons that people might write in her essays/lectures - ďNegotiating with the Deadí (CUP) Ė itís a funny list. My motivations might be different on any given day of the week. Or depending where I am at a particular point in a story. Sometimes, especially towards the end, itís just an urgent desire to get the damn thing done.
Kal BonnerAll kinds of things. I'm like a tap that been turned on and you can't turn it off. I'm constantly thinking of storylines and new dialogue. I'm at present looking for a snake-hipped young man to be my new Muse, after the last one escaped. B &Q don't make rope like they used to.
Kate LongReading excellent fiction.
Kate TymEverything and anything. Lots of little domestic bits. My relationships Ė husband, daughters, friends. Womenís issues Ė donít groan! Ė the world Iím bringing my daughters up in, with homogenous-looking clone girls and celebrity fixated wannabes is quite scary and makes me wonder why Emily Davison bothered throwing herself under the kingís horse!

Kathryn Haig The whole purpose of writing is, for me, to give readers an hour or two of pleasure and escapism. Books have always been so important in my life. I read in the bath, when Iím cleaning my teeth, when Iím ironing (and often iron my own fingers!) . . . So I write the books that I would enjoy reading.
Kia AbdullahMy first novel was a form of catharsis; a way to exorcise some of my demons and write about some of the issues and inequalities I had faced in my own life. It was quite an intense process. My readers and the positive feedback I have received are the inspiration behind my second novel. So far, writing the second one is proving to be a lot of fun.
Kit PeelThings I believe in that I want to explore. Iíve always found language magical.
Laura WatsonThe desire to entertain, scare or move. The desire to share a view, opinion or bit of my imagination.
Lee HenshawEmptying my head of conflicting thoughts.
Lee JacksonReading about the Victorian period and a desire to surprise the reader.
Lola JayeMany things.
When I was an unpublished author it was the thought of not being a published author! But seriously though, it could be a childís smile; a song; a topic on television or just walking through a sweaty tube station (a lot of my book titles were born this way!); a comment; a looming deadlineÖ
Long Barn BooksPlaces and great prose written by others,
Lucy McCarraherPeople Ė friends, family, life. Relationships Ė with partners, children, family, parents, friends. The meaning of life. At the moment, more specifically, the 17th century farmhouse we live in and the layers of lives which are embedded in the clay lump walls, the surrounding village and the East Anglian landscape generally. ďBlood and WaterĒ is set in Dulwich and Crystal Palace, where I used to live Ė and again, the house, the street, the community and its history are what inspired large parts of the plot.
Malcolm BurgessThat fantastic feeling you get when itís all going well, plus the challenge to always do better and be brave and try new things Ė plus the money of course.
Maria McCarthyAt the moment, money.
Mark Liam PiggottGood writing, bad writing, our strange times. Maybe inspired is the wrong word; I donít feel inspired most of the time, just driven.
Matt LynnThe thought of getting the book into peopleís hands. Plus, the sheer pleasure of writing itself. You have to really enjoy the process of putting words and stories together to keep on doing it.
Meg PeacockeMy poems seem to be sparked off by a collision between different things, for instance a memory and an event in my present life; so there seems to be a crucial element of chance. At the same time, ďChance visits the prepared mindĒ (Louis Pasteur said that.) Thereís a kind of recognition. Preparing the mind Ė that must have something to do with the way you live.
Michael RidpathI could make something up, but the truth is I donít know. I just feel a strong compulsion to do it.
Michelene WandorThis is not an answerable question; it is what I do, it is how I earn my living, and it is what goes on in my mind and imagination.
Milly JohnsonI donít wait for inspiration otherwise Iíd get nothing done. I start writing and inspiration joins me on the journey.
Neil ForsythThe certainty that I could not do anything better. So Iíd better push on with this and make a decent stab of it.
Neil J HartOther peoples writing. Music, films, TV, and the buzz of writing itself. Anything can spark off an idea. I keep a large book for writing these down as and when they arrive. Anything from dreams, conversations, expressions, names, to theories and philosophies. I read a lot of non-fiction too as a basis for creating stories / characters outside of my own personal knowledge. Science journals, Greek myths, the Fortean Times, religious texts and Cosmo are all sources to dip into.
Neil NixonI canít help it. I have ideas of all kinds all the time. A chance to make decent money and/or do something so unusual itís bound to be a challenge is what inspires me to get down to work.
Nick GriffithsIn the day job, money. Though I always hope to enjoy the work, which inspires me to put in heart and soul. Author-wise, the dream of seeing an actual book with my name on the cover. Plus the enjoyment of crafting sentences.
Nick StaffordUsually, when I read or hear or see or, crucially, FEEL some humans doing something and it makes me ask why?

You have to have to write things, things that feel right, and find some kindred spirits, and you must make yourself available to receive.
Nicky SingerItís like breathing. If you donít do it, you die a little.
Nik PerringAgain no one single thing. An idea. A set of circumstances. People. Struggles. I donít think that as a writer you can afford to wait for that moment of inspiration. I think you have to get out there and find it, grab it and wrestle it onto the page.
Patricia CumperFor the past four years, Iíve been the writer on the summer production put on by Talawaís Young Peoples Theatre and each time I am blown away by their talent and bravery. They inspire me. I want them to be part of British theatre with confidence and pride so I try to teach them everything I can. I want them to understand that their heritage doesnít detract from being British but rather enhances it.

Patrick DillonAt the moment, the thrill of introducing children to whole worlds they donít yet know about. Iím quite certain that itís important for children to know about our history. At the same time itís just as inspiring for me to put myself in their shoes and look at our history afresh, through new eyes. You can tell the oldest stories in the world to children, and when they hear it, it becomes new again.

Paul ReedHumour in adversity, inspirational books, the martial arts, Irvine Welsh. When Trainspotting came out it inspired me that someone from my background could be a writer. Also, when Quintin Jardine got published; I'd known him since I was a wee laddie.
Peter RobertsonA great love that went wrong but enough said about that. I have a conservative soul and dislike talking about my private life, especially in light of what happened, and its aftermath.
Preethi NairI write because I have stories to share. I write because it is the thing that I do best.
Rebecca StrongLittle observances made throughout the day that spark my imagination.
Ron MorgansHaving covered so many major news events all those years, that information is stuffed in my head. It cost me my leisure and one marriage. Writing is an exorcism.
Rosy BarnesThe ridiculousness of people and the incredible self-justifications and arguments they make for what they do Ė often for just being mean.
Sally NichollsStories. I keep hearing stories and thinking Ďooh, that would make a good bookí. They all stack up in the back of my brain. Also people. When I was a teenager I used to steal minor characters from novels and TV programmes and create entire back stories and futures for them.
Sara MaitlandBeing alive and believing in God.
Sarah SalwayI use writing to sort out what I think about things. I have lots of knots going on in my head at any one time, so although thatís a pain for living, it makes for lots of writing inspiration.
Sarah StovellĎInspiresí is a strong word. Itís not often I feel truly inspired. Most of the time, I just wake up and turn the computer on and think, ĎBetter get on with it.í However, sometimes if I read a beautiful poem, or a staggering passage of prose, I get very excited and feel I absolutely have to write something. But I usually donít, because at times like that, my mind is switched into sensory overload and I canít concentrate.
Shahrukh HusainEverything. I just donít have enough bodies to execute all the ideas.
ShikaI come from a diverse and quirky extended family of nomads who are a rich source of inspiration.
Do you have a writing routine? A place thatís special?
I write whenever I can find the space to spark up my laptop. I once wrote a quick chapter whilst I was in a hospital waiting room waiting to have my stress levels checked out; Iíve written in taxis on the way back to the office after landing at Heathrow airport and every Friday I squeeze myself into a corner just outside my daughterís drama school staff room and type until the class is over.

Do you address particular themes or issues in your writing?
The immigrant experience and how it soaks up or clashes against its adoptive new culture interests me.

Where do you get your ideas from?
Some are real life events that I embellish; sometimes I write to redress a wrong or give another perspective on something. For example, I wrote a short story about Botswana after I discovered that forty percent of the population are HIV positive.
Sion Scott-WilsonPeople.
Sol B RiverMusic, Love, fascination, disappointment. Love of people, love of the world, the sadness and optimism of any certain state of affairs.
Stella DuffyA combination of wanting to make the world better and touch people and the need to pay my mortgage.
Steve FeaseyMy love of books. Like most writers, I fell in love with books at an early age, and those stories inspire me to write my own. It just took me a long time to figure that out. I wish it hadnít taken quite so long.
Steven HagueMaybe a beautifully written chapter in a novel, a great scene in a movie, or praise from my readers, but itís always one part inspiration to nine parts perspiration, and anyway, Iím not really sure that Ďinspiresí is the right word, as itís actually more of a need to write. This is the only natural talent Iíve been blessed with and to waste it would be a crime, plus when Iím not writing I feel completely worthless Ė like the laziest guy on the face of the planet. And all the other vital parts of being a writer, stuff like research, plotting, and publicity, doesnít count either Ė the only thing that does is words on the page.
Sue MoorcroftThe actual act of writing is a compulsion. I just find myself making things up. But why I write about this subject or that Ö? I suppose I just find something remarkable and want to explore it. It doesnít sound very interesting, put like that, but my mind wanders around and then latches onto something and I find I have something to say. Characters drive my fiction so finding the right character is a big help.
Tania HershmanEverything.
Tara HylandWanting to write the kind of book that Iíd love to read.
Tibor FischerBills.
Tim LottHuman absurdity.
Tony McGowanNow, itís the desire for renown. It used to be the simple love of words. And before that it was the vague hope that it might impress girls.
Trilby KentGreat writing.
Vanessa CurtisMusic, comic situations, talk, (my next novel is inspired by a conversation I heard between two women on a very slow train to London), the endless ticking of the clock towards my 40th birthday and that moment where a character suddenly pops into my head and demands that I write an entire novel around them.
Vanessa GebbieUsually, something I see. A picture. Photo. Colours mixing. A look passing between two people. Something visual, often surreal.
William ColesI don't know about "inspire" - but it's what I enjoy doing. Not that it isn't a challenge and a lot of graft. But it's my trade. I hope to be doing it till the day I die.
William SuttonPeople, comments, situations, revelations, events, fears, angers. Everything. Little things connect and turn from life problems into writing ideas (especially when hungover).
Zoe Fairbairns

I don't always know, particularly at the time. It just feel like an intense and passionate interest in something or someone, and a desire to build a story. Afterwards, I can often see patterns. In my new collection of stories, How Do You Pronounce Nulliparous? (Five Leaves Press) I find myself returning again and again to the gaps between words and actions - the way so often we say one thing, mean another and do something else. In the title story, a 40-something woman who has never had children and never wanted to, revisits her decision, remembering the many things she has been told about motherhood by mothers. In Meek & Mild, a young child is sent to a school run by a religion that neither she nor her parents belong to. In Capitalists 'R' Us, ageing anti-capitalist activists try to square their beliefs with their desire to give up work and live on investment income (or retire on a pension, as it is more generally known). Words are the writer's tools; some have sharper edges than others, but they are not always equal to the complexities we face. Writing fiction is my way of trying to make sense of these.<br><br>
Zoe LambertI guess Iím often trying to get something across. Itís also addictive or ĎmoreishíÖ
Zoe WilliamsStimulants and psychoactive drugs.