It’s time, ladies and gentlemen. Another blog post, this time about inspiration. And in that sentiment, I thought I would write another Flashback Time Machine segment, featuring a flashback to an inspirational time in my own life. Here we go!
This is me:
When I first set out to write my latest novel, I realized that the inspiration had come from a trip I had taken, nearly twenty years ago. I could never have known back then the vacation that I took in my twenties, would have led me here.
Allow me to explain.
I was always the kid at school who romanticized about living in castles, travelling by foot down cobblestone streets, sitting at an outdoor café, even though I didn’t drink coffee (at the time), I couldn’t wait to discover what a crumpet was. I was that kid in school who adored learning languages, and the thought of travelling to Germany, Austria, Italy or Spain was not frightening to me because I just wanted to know how the people there lived. And I was that kid in school who, believe it or not, was not a big reader, unless it was a time period piece where the character’s lived or travelled to Europe. My school locker had been decorated with pictures I had cut out from magazines of those cobblestone streets, British pop bands, old cottages, and Monet paintings.
Well, almost 20 years ago, I finally had the opportunity to travel to Europe. It had been a dream of mine to do so for about as long as I could remember; at the time, I was the ripe old age of 23. I viewed this trip as the realization of a dream, which it most certainly was. But I now know that that trip to Europe had planted the seeds for something more: Something that just now I am beginning to see to fruition.
My current novel, still a work in progress, has literally been with me for the past twenty years, since that trip to Europe in 1994. Not unlike myself at that time, my protagonist, Hans, is an American college student, pursuing a master’s degree in music. He travels to Europe during the summer in order to begin planning out his Master’s thesis, in search of the origins of a mysterious piece of music, which he feels a deep connection to. His travels take him to the birthplace of Beethoven (Bonn, Germany), as well as Vienna, where he discovers that the history of Beethoven that we all know might not be the complete story.
This novel has been a long time in the making, and I didn’t even realize it until this past year. But again, hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, I can see that I was predestined to write this book. And even before my trip, it was almost written in the stars. Like Hans, I was drawn to that area of the world to investigate further the things that I had a deep attachment to, even though I couldn’t pinpoint why. And, upon seeing those things that I had only read about in books, I could sense that they meant something more to me in my life. Something that would stay with me for two decades as the seeds for my novel began to sprout.
The website, noveltravelist.com, is a place for writers and artists to go to get help with location information for their novels, and I would encourage all writers to check it out. In my case, a novel seedling was planted when my whole world revolved around being a musician and getting a job. I had no idea the impact that trip would have on my life back then. But here I am today, my first draft done, and the excitement as I write about those places in Europe is still as fresh in my mind as they were two decades ago. I can still see the hue of Beethoven Haus, the gingerbread facades, the smells and sounds of old Europe that I lived in for a month of my life in 1994.
Inspiration: It’s a magical thing.