“Inspiration comes from everywhere” – How to create realistic scenes for your novel with Belinda Alexandra

Bestselling author Belinda Alexandra is well-known for her detailed scene setting and the immersive worlds she creates within her novels.

She’ll be sharing her secrets at her upcoming Memorable Moments talk at Dural Library on Thursday, September 10.

Focus caught up with Belinda ahead of her Dural Library visit to chat about writing inspiration, travel and what the future holds.

Q: What do you hope attendees take home from your author talk?

A: I hope they really enjoy learning about the stories behind the story. Novels rarely just happen, they take an enormous amount of thought – from how the setting will influence to the story to the kinds of conflicts you set up between characters.  Characters often develop in extraordinary ways. I hope when readers get an insight into how writers work to create a story it will greatly enrich their reading experience.

Q: How did you get into writing novels?

A: I’ve been a keen writer since I was a child. When I was older and started travelling I would write very long emails to my friends and family. From there I went from short stories and finally to novels. My first published novel was White Gardenia. I started researching my family history but as I did that a fictional story started to grow in my head. Once I had completed a full-length novel, and knew that I could do it, I just kept going. I can’t believe I’m currently working on my ninth novel now!

Q: Where do you draw inspiration for your stories from?

A: Inspiration comes from everywhere! I love to seek out interesting people and adventures. I’m often inspired by other creative forms – dance, music, films and art. My love of travel, history and nature has served me well so far in conjuring up stories!

Q: What advice do you have for up-and-coming writers?

A: We all have qualities and viewpoints that are unique to us. It’s important for writers to be authentically themselves and to not try to imitate anyone else. When your work comes from your heart, that’s when the magic happens!

Q: Out of all your books, which is your favourite and why?

A: I love all my books like a mother loves her children; they are all special and different. But I’m very present-minded, so the book I am always most passionate about is book I’m currently writing.

Q: You’ve written books set all over the world. Are these all places you’ve visited? If not, how do you ensure the settings are accurate?

A: I think it is very important to visit the places you are writing about in order to convey the setting not only accurately but with the full richness of its atmosphere. Places do change with time so when writing historical fiction you need to use your imagination as well as undertake copious research. I prepare for a story like an actor preparing to play a role. I listen to the music of the place, study its art, maybe its dance forms, language, food and culture. I love losing myself in another place and time this way!

Q: What’s next?

A: Something completely different! I’m taking a break from historical fiction to write some atmospheric Australian Gothic.

Catch Belinda at Dural Library on Thursday, September 10 at 6.30PM.

Tickets: $7.50pp. Bookings essential online.

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