how the bronte sisters inspired my novel



Isn’t it strange where inspiration comes from?  I’ve been inspired by some weird and wonderful things before, dreams, rubbish, a tone of voice, so my muse for my latest WIP seems quite tame in comparison.  But it still came as quite unexpected.

The Bronte sisters are among my favourite authors and Wuthering Heights is one of the best books in the world (in my humble opinion).  I wanted to create something to signify this, an homage I suppose is the term.  I always loved the atmosphere of the story, its gothic bleakness in some ways reminding me of parts of Scotland.  The eerie moors featured in Emily’s beautiful writing could easily be transported to the barren mountains here and I really wanted to capture that shivery feeling you get when you read those passages.

My story had to be based in Scotland of course because that’s where I live and that’s what I know.  So in a very strange way, I had the tone of the book I wanted to create but not the actually story.  That’s not something that can be worked in later, that’s something you need right away!

I decided to research the Bronte sisters because I was driving myself crazy trying to force an idea that wasn’t there; I didn’t want to simply recreate Heathcliff and Cathy’s story for a number of obvious reasons.  So I found myself reading about the women I had admired for so long but actually didn’t know very much about.

Their family history is fascinating and well worth looking up if you’re interested in that sort of thing.  Amongst the nuggets of information, I discovered that Emily was something of a recluse and when they were children the girls invented a fantasy world for themselves.

That sparked an avalanche of ideas in my head all beginning with that glorious writers question “What if . . . ?”  

What if there was a girl who lived in her own world all the time and couldn’t see the real world for what it was?  There are other thoughts woven in to that one but that is the main thread, the piece that binds it all together.

I’m still writing the story, it will take a while, but I am excited about it and I have to thank that most tragic of the Bronte sisters, Emily.