15 October 2014

Hallow's Eve: Three Little Things from Pippa Jay

As always, it's a delight to have Pippa on the blog. In case you guys haven't noticed, she's been a very busy bee lately, and I couldn't be prouder of her. She's an incredible talent. Today she's sharing a little behind-the-scenes story for us. Check out her excerpt here.

October last year I was watching fellow authors posting their Halloween stories with just a little jealousy. Writing mostly scifi, I’d struggled with the idea of setting traditional contemporary holidays in space, or of coming up with any kind of holiday related ideas. Christmas in spaaaace? I’d seen others do it, but somehow my muse was shaking her head at the concept. No, my mind was blank.

Then I had an epiphany. I saw Neil Gaiman’s tweet about the All Hallows Read, and it sparked something off. I had an idea! But the original central character for my Halloween story was a young girl called Hallow. I was going to write a childrens’ story, or perhaps young adult—a conflicted teen witch trying to fit into the real world while hiding her abilities. Somehow she transformed into a heartbroken, 30 something warlock called Hal. How the heck did that happen?! Well, I think I have to blame trawling through stock photo sites and coming across this picture.

I immediately saw him as my hero. His face was so striking, strong and yet tormented. I think this is the first time that a stock image has not only dictated my hero’s appearance (not for the first time), but it also transformed the original idea for the story.

So having found my hero, the focus of the story shifted. Having already decided on the title of Hallow’s Eve and having researched the original pagan holiday that was celebrated before the days of our more familiar and recognized Halloween, it became about more than him being named after an important day in the pagan calendar. The idea of ‘Eve’ took on another significance. This wasn’t just going to be about the day. A few more images later, and this one became Eve.

Again, the image just captured my attention. She looked slightly ethereal, which fitted with some of the qualities of the story, and yet struck me as a warm, strong-minded kind of woman. I felt she’d be the perfect match for my hero, and that the images would make a perfect cover.

So, story inspiration for me can come from anywhere. In this case it came from catching sight of a title for something else, and two images from a stock photo site. Three little things. That’s all it takes.

Have you ever had something very small give you big ideas? 

Twelve months ago, Hal’s world crashed and burned, taking the love of his life with it. He’s waited all year for that one special night when the souls of the departed come home, hoping his candle will summon back one in particular to heal his broken heart. But the forbidden knowledge he’s learned could call something far worse, and put more than his own soul at risk...

To celebrate the release of Hallow's Eve, Pippa is giving away a really cool prize pack. The entry form is below.