Guest Post: Nikki Owen on Inspiration

Saturday 6 June 2015
Today I am excited to be a part of the blog tour for Nikki Owen's brilliant debut novel The Spider in the Corner of the Room. A thought-provoking and at times quite gripping story that I have no hesitation in reccommending. You can read my review here, and in the meantime I hope you enjoy this guest post from Nikki about her inspiration for writing The Spider in the Corner of the Room.

What was your inspiration for writing The Spider in the Corner of the Room?

I love a good daydream. It rocks, right - that act of staring into space, mouth hanging open like a fish on the deck of a boat, dribble drooling from the corner of your lips (or, you know, maybe not…). It can be your best, most influential look. And why? Because daydreaming is an inspiration.

Now, let me whack this into some kind of context for you. I daydream and I get to call it my job. Sometimes, I can’t quite believe I am able to say that – and my kids think it’s awesome. Because, here’s the thing: I get my inspiration through daydreaming. I sit, stare, let my brain wonder and then, boom! An idea walks in. Okay, it’s not quite that simple – there are catalysts that can, when blended with a good old daydream, form pretty explosive ideas bombs.

Take trying to figure out what genre to write in. I’ve attempted every creative writing thread going, been short-listed for a few things. And then I wrote a novel in contemporary fiction. Agents read it, but couldn’t place it. Come back to us with something else, they said. I felt as if I had run back-to-back marathons, and here I was being told to start again. But I did it. I dragged myself up, looked hard at what I was doing, asked myself the question: what books do I love to read? The answer was psychological thrillers and conspiracies. Boom - I had myself a genre: I was going to mix the two.

And now, here’s big-ticket inspiration bit number one. About the same time as the genre revelation, I read an article on a supermax prison in the USA - and it inspired a character’s voice in me. I bashed it out on the keyboard, and eventually my protagonist, Dr Maria Martinez, and my novel, The Spider in the Corner of the Room, were born.

But, here’s where I let you into a secret: Maria actually started out as a man. Stay with me. See, I was writing Spider and, eight chapters in, something wasn’t working. And then I went to see the Bond film, Skyfall. Now, there’s a character in Skyfall, a female spy, who, at the beginning, is strong, decisive, but, by the final scene of the movie is instead portrayed as weak, having been relegated to a PA because she couldn’t, ‘cut it in the field.’ Say what? I was watching the film with my daughter and it made me so cross; here was a woman – and to a greater extent, women in general - being, basically, depicted as feeble. And here’s big-ticket inspiration bit number two. Because, film over, I charged home, immediately changed my protagonist’s voice to a strong, complex woman with Asperger's, and Dr Maria Martinez was created.

So, there you go. Daydreaming – whether via films, newspapers or just via the dirt under my fingernails - is my inspiration. Dribble, however, is optional…

About Nikki Owen

Nikki Owen is an award-winning writer and columnist. Previously, Nikki was a marketing consultant and University teaching fellow before turning to writing full time. As part of her degree, she studied at the acclaimed University of Salamanca - the same city where her protagonist of The Spider in the Corner of the Room, Dr Maria Martinez, hails from.

The Spider in the Corner of the Room is Nikki's debut international novel - the first in a trilogy - and will be published in several languages. In 2014, the trilogy was optioned by NBC Universal Television for a one-hour returnable TV series.

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