Inspiration is a funny thing. It strikes at the oddest times, and more often than not, it’s nothing but a spark at first. What you do with that spark is what matters.
I can trace the inspiration for The Beldam’s Eye all back to two characters: Petra Finn and Winford Jasper (who affectionately call each other Pete and Winnie).
Originally, the book took place in Victorian England. Pete and Winnie came to me one day while I was walking through downtown Columbus, Ohio. I knew they were graverobbers who happened upon a supposedly enchanted ring called The Beldam’s Eye. They were hapless and ignorant and rather dirty but wanted to use the ring to their advantage. They went, I decided, to an elderly professor named Erasmus Bramble for assistance.
These are the ideas that first sparked my interest in the story of The Beldam’s Eye.
Flash-forward to now. The book takes place in modern day rural Ohio. Pete and Winnie are a couple of comic book nerds who find a pocket watch on the sidewalk, a cursed pocket watch called The Beldam’s Eye. They are merely supporting players in the novel. The lead role is Erasmus Bramble, a thirty-year-old paranormal investigator. The earliest plot for the novel had no ghosts, no paranormal plot at all; it was an adventure novel.
Inspiration changes; what inspires an author today may not inspire them tomorrow. What initially pulled me to this story wasn’t at all what drove me to finish it. At first I was intrigued by Victorian novels and my drive to explore the lives of these two graverobbers. In the end I was inspired by paranormal investigation and the entirely-renovated character of Erasmus Bramble. As a writer, you have to follow what inspires you, and that will change. What inspires me to write most of all are my characters. I come up with these people in my head, and my desire to learn more about them is what drives me to write.
If you cling to something that no longer causes that spark in you, your writing just… isn’t going to be that good. So, find that inspiration and chase it, but be sure to know when it’s time to move on.
The Bedlam’s Eye
by Jennifer Rainey
When Erasmus Bramble finds the recently-deceased Angus Heyer rummaging through his kitchen cabinets, he knows he has a unique case on his hands.
As paranormal investigators in rural Ohio, Ras and his business partner Antony Yeats tackle ghostly problems on a daily basis, from poltergeist exterminations to troubled spirits just looking for a shoulder to cry on. Angus isn’t looking for ghost therapy. He needs Ras and Yeats to help him retrieve a pocket watch stolen from him after death, a pocket watch that is said to be cursed: The Beldam’s Eye.
The skeptical Ras and Yeats agree to take Angus’s case, but they soon find themselves in over their heads, facing murder, theft and perilous dark magic. Is it all just backwoods superstition or is the curse of The Beldam’s Eye grisly reality?
Ras could hear shuffling in the kitchen. He ruffled his hands through his wet hair and walked into the living room.
A ghost covered in soot rummaged through his kitchen cabinets, humming lowly to himself, and he smiled when he found a mug that looked like a purple cat. Its tail curled into the handle, and this amused him. The occasional spark of fire flew from his dark fingers.
Ras opened his mouth to speak, but was silenced by, “Well, you gonna stand there, or you gonna get me something to drink?” The ghost burst into laughter too quickly and turned to face him. His glowing orange eyes seemed somehow mirthful, but he didn’t let his guard down. Ghosts were known for their mood swings. Being reduced to nothing but a mass of paranormal energy complete with its own electromagnetic field will do that to a person. “I’m jokin’, I’m jokin’! I couldn’t drink anything anyway.”
Ras smiled. “I wonder why you’re looking through my cabinets, then.”
“Oh, just pokin’ around,” the ghost answered in a creaky voice. “Gettin’ to know ya. I’m gonna have to if we’re gonna work together, right?”
Ras laughed. “Really? What can you tell by looking at my coffee cups?”
“Well… you like cats? Purple ones, I reckon. You got a purple cat around here somewhere?”
Ras knew in situations like this, the worst thing one could do was antagonize the ghost. Sometimes a ghost was a little addled by the dying process. It was better to try to out-crazy a spirit, make them think you were the one with a screw loose.
“Not a purple one, I’m afraid,” Ras answered, “but I did have a blue one once. I’ve always been fond of blue cats!”
“Ah, you see! Close enough, right? And I could tell that just by pokin’ through your coffee cups. I’m a regular Sherlock Holmes.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jennifer Rainey was raised by wolves who later sold her to gypsies. She then joined the circus at the age of ten. There, she was the flower girl in the famed Bearded Bride of Beverly Hills show until the act was discontinued (it was discovered that the bearded lady was actually a man). From there, she wandered around the country selling novelty trucker hats with vaguely amusing sayings printed on front. Somehow, she made enough money to go to The Ohio State University for a major in English.
Jennifer will provide two $20 Amazon GCs and five copies of Thoroughly Modern Monsters, her short story collection to randomly drawn commenters during the tour. The grand prize to one randomly drawn commenter will be a $25 Amazon Gift card, a copy of These Hellish Happenings (her first novel) and a copy of Thoroughly Modern Monsters.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2012/07/virtual-book-tour-bedlams-eye-by.html