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Where I Get My Ideas From By Tamara McKinley

Photograph by Joanna CrittendenToday on the book tour for Tamara McKinley’s new novel, ‘Echoes From Afar’, Tamara tells us where she gets her ideas for her stories.

As an author of over 23 novels, I am often asked where I find my ideas. The answer is quite straightforward for I get them everywhere – a snatch of conversation, an image in a photograph, a newspaper headline, or a moment of inspiration in a beautiful place.

Not all my ideas turn into books, but they are mulled over and examined closely until most of them prove impractical and simply fade away. Yet there is always one which stands out. One which refuses to leave and demands to be told as if the tale is being channelled to me by some irresistible force – and that is how I came to write ‘Echoes From Afar’.

My French publisher invited me to attend a book-fair and stay in Paris for a couple of nights to help promote my latest book. Having always loved Paris my husband and I eagerly accepted.

The romance of Paris cannot be denied, and after a very pleasant evening at a reception for my readers and bloggers, my editor suggested a different route back to our hotel. The night was warm, the sky sprinkled with stars that glittered on the fast-flowing Seine, and we walked hand-in-hand along the embankment, drinking in the sights and sounds of our last evening in Paris. As we reached the Pont Neuf we paused to watch the lights twinkle on the Eiffel Tower, and to admire the way the old street-lamps illuminated the cobbled street.

Echoes From AfarI turned away from the river and looked across the narrow street to the line of tall, elegant buildings with their delicately-wrought iron balconies and French windows. As my gaze trawled slowly along them I felt as if I’d drifted into another life-time, for I thought I saw a shadow behind one of those windows – the shadow of a still figure that seemed to be watching us.

I was transfixed as we stared at one another and I realised that my silent watcher was a man who was sitting in a wheel-chair, and it was as if he was reaching out to me, telling me his story and beseeching me to pass it on.

It was one of those rare and magic moments of inspiration which are the life-blood of all authors, and I stood there in awe as his story unfolded seamlessly, and I learned who he was, why he was in a wheelchair, and most importantly, why he maintained his sad, but hopeful vigil over the Pont Neuf.

The moment passed and in the blink of an eye he was gone – the window empty of all but the shifting shadows cast by the moonlit trees. But I knew he’d been there once upon a time; knew his life-story of love and loss and heroism, and knew without a doubt that a book was born. That book is ‘Echoes From Afar’.

You can buy Echoes from Afar from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

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