The ‘What inspires you?’ question seems to be the favourite for someone who is not a writer or a creative person, to ask. I cannot explain just how much this question irritates me in polite terms, but I will try.
Firstly, I never know how to answer this. Every single day, my inspirations are different. Sometimes the landscape or environment around me inspires. Other days it is something that someone has said. Then it’s music that I’m listening to. It could even be an advert on the TV that suddenly awakens my muse. Regardless of what day it is, it always changes.
Secondly, when people ask this question – they expect an immediate answer. Pfft – you must be joking, right? That is a loaded question. It’s like asking God what inspired him to create the world, or the universe. “Gee, let me think…” God says, with a raised bushy eyebrow, “Boredom?”
Yes, well. Like I said – it’s a loaded question. And here is what happened the last time someone asked me this question. Very recently it was asked by our new Finance Manager at my Evil Day Job. Naturally I didn’t know what to say – so I told him that he that inspired me every day. You know what? The dude actually got a kick out of that answer. Then he asked me the same question again. When I refused to answer, saying that it was a tough question, he asked me what it was like to write all that ‘Romancy Mills and Boon stuff’. Purely out of curiosity, I asked what gave the impression that I wrote in that genre. He said, “Because you’re female, and isn’t that most women authors write?”
Now, if I was a physically violent person – that would have been the moment that I would have smacked some reality into him. Instead – I was gobsmacked. There was no witty comeback lurking on my tongue. Instead, there was anger towards half the population of the earth. Oh yes. So what do you think inspired me that day? That’s right – anger, plus a multitude of other things that are far too sexist and inappropriate to write about publicly. I might destroy my esteemed reputation. But there you have it – a little piece of small minded chauvinism at its finest.
So, when I eventually simmered down, and told him that no, I write thrillers. I decided to leave the ‘Young Adult’ genre out of there, fearing that it may be a bit beyond his comprehension. He was shocked. Yes. Shocked. Just like I was shocked at his open chauvinism, he was shocked that a female might actually have the intelligence and the ability to write entertaining fiction. “Like James Patterson?” he asked.
“Yes,” I nodded. “Just like James Patterson.”
Perhaps I should have just told him that porn inspires me to write Mills and Boon books, and just left it at that.