Awhile ago I did a post on what inspired me to write my novel Wordcrafter (the rough draft of which is now complete and going through edits). Since I am now fairly deep into my story The White Sail's Shaking, I thought I would do the same for it.
1. It started with this history of the rise of the U.S. Navy after the Revolution, Six Frigates by Ian Toll. I was far more interested in the British Navy during the Age of Sail than with the American before reading this, but the colorful history, especially that of the original six frigates, intrigued me. A story was brewing before I finished this book.
2. The most interesting part of Six Frigates was, I thought, the period of the First Barbary War. It was fairly small and gets much less press in history texts than the War of 1812, but all the same, it had some grand exploits, plenty of drama, and a gorgeous setting on the Mediterranean - perfect for a novel.
3. Stephen Decatur was a fascinating character. However, since writing a novel actually based on a historical figure, no matter how obscure, is very risky, I had no desire to try it out with Decatur; he does figures prominently in The White Sail's Shaking, since my character serves under him.
4. The Age of Sail, though quite bloody and, when one gets down to bare facts, unromantic, still thrills me. I love the old sailing ships and the British Navy during this period of time has long interested me with its assortment of famous ships, battles, and men.
5. I have a difficult time remembering when I didn't enjoy the first four Hornblower movies (The Duel/An Even Chance, The Fire Ship/Examination for Lieutenant, The Duchess and the Devil, and The Wrong War/The Frogs and the Lobsters). I used to watch them just for the sake of rewinding the VHS after someone was shot, to watch them "fall" upright again. While I don't enjoy either the books or the newer movies as much, I still love those first four and watch one when I need inspiration.
6. The sea is mysterious and enchanting, and frightening. The yearly trip that my family takes to the beach has made me grow to love the sound of the waves on the shore and the smell of salt, and the grey days that hang over the water like a cloak, and the feel of a storm off the water. There are few settings that could be more inspiring than that.
7. As I have some Sicilian blood, Sicily's history interests me more than the boot of Italy does, inspiring the character of Marta and some of the scenes during the novel. Also, the beauty of the Mediterranean is a huge plus.
8. The Prince of Egypt soundtrack is wonderful for writing, as it has a wide variety of tunes - epic, haunting, bittersweet - and the vocalization is just right for the setting on the lower Mediterranean.
9. John Masefield's poem Sea Fever inspired the title - "I must go down to the sea again / to the lonely sea and sky / and all I ask is a tall ship / and a star to steer her by, / and the wheel's kick and the wind's song / and the white sail's shaking, / and a grey mist on the sea's face / and a grey dawn breaking."
Post inspired by K.M. Weiland's Fifteen Degrees of Inspiration.