It’s kind of traditional for writers to talk about their influences. Well, here’s one of mine. The natural world is an abiding interest, and constantly finds its way into my writing. The landscapes and environment of Winterbirth draw very heavily on the wilder bits of Britain. So, because of that, and to experiment with posting photos up here, some visuals. In this case, scenes from a short visit to the Lake District.

The author’s thought process: ‘I know I should be writing, but look: a hill. I bet you get a good view from up there …’

Stray off the path in a dark forest and look what you find – toadstools looking just like toadstools ought to!

Light + hills + trees = mood.

Even though Britain’s a little, densely populated island it still has a natural drama and mystery, and sometimes looks like a ready-made backdrop for a story. This kind of stuff sits in the back of my brain waiting to sneak into a story, so it’s probably only a matter of time before toadstools, stone walls and bracken turn up on the page.

P.S. The mushrooms, by the way, are fly agaric – a species that not only looks fantastic, being the model for virtually all appearances of toadstools in popular culture, but is absolutely loaded with folklore and religious and shamanic significance.

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