Congratulations to Kate Larkindale on her newly published book. As a special treat, she shared something about finding inspiration and an excerpt of her new book. Enjoy!
Inspiration and where it comes from:
I have never struggled to find ideas to write about. The hard part is picking out the good ones.
The starting point, or spark is usually something fairly simple. For example, An Unstill Life began with its original title: The Boyfriend Plague. Now, this is really unusual for me because I tend to struggle with titles, but this one came to me and I instantly knew it would be a book about friendships and how they change once boyfriends come on the scene.
But it wasn’t a book yet. It was an idea. It wasn’t until I read a newspaper article about a school forbidding same sex couples to attend their end of year dance that the book began to take shape.
With Stumped, my new book, the idea came to me in a very different way. I used to run movie theatres and one night we hosted the premiere of a documentary about sex workers who work with the disabled. One of the subjects of the documentary spoke at the event and I was so blown away by her, I bought her a glass of wine after the event just so she would hang around and talk some more.
I knew as soon as I finished talking to her I wanted to write a book about sex and disability. And fortunately just a few weeks later, I was challenged by another writer to write a novel over an eight-week period alongside her and four other writers. Stumped was the result.
Another of my books, yet to be published, was inspired by a single line spoken in a film. I heard it, and the whole book just came to me in a heartbeat, something that has never happened to me before. And you want to know something weird? I went back and re-watched the film after I’d written the book, and I couldn’t figure out what it was that had sparked me at all!
Another of my yet-to-be published books was inspired by something that happened to my bosses. When I first started working for them, someone close to them was murdered and they had to take in the children of the murdered woman because the father was the main suspect in the case and couldn’t take care of them.
Yet another was inspired by a scathing review of a film that came out of the Cannes Film Festival one year. I never saw the film, but the review was enough to spark something.
Ideas are everywhere. You just have to keep your eyes and your mind open to them. If something intrigues you, it’s worth considering it, ruminating on it. You never know! Your next book idea could be lurking away in there.
Seventeen-year-old Ozzy has a super-hot girlfriend who’s ready to take their relationship to the next level. Tonight. At the lake.
But a missing condom scuttles his plans for seduction. Furious, Ozzy takes his girlfriend home and drives off — into the path of an oncoming truck. He wakes up in the hospital with both legs amputated above the knees.
When his girlfriend runs out of his hospital room gagging after a single look at him, Ozzy knows he’s a hideous freak. He becomes convinced he’s blown any chance of finding love, a girlfriend or ever having sex.
Determined to prove he can still be a man, Ozzy throws himself into dumping the burden of his virginity, but finds there’s a limited number of people willing to touch legless dudes in wheelchairs. His obsession takes him into the seedy underworld of brothels and escort services where he discovers the difference between sex and intimacy, and that sometimes the price you pay for getting what you want is much higher than a sex worker’s fee.
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Mom didn’t lie. She’s still there when I wake up. I turn my head and find her in the chair, chin slumped to her shoulder, mouth open as she sleeps. She looks old. Why have I never noticed? My mouth is dry again and I search around for the water. Ah, there it is. A whole jug of it, sitting next to the plastic cup with the kiddie straw in it. It’s right beside the bed, on some sort of low cabinet. I can reach it. At least, if I can make my body move, I can.
I’m not as foggy as I was the last time I woke up, so I’m confident I can do this simple chore. But first I need to sit up. I press my hands into the mattress and push myself upward. Sharp pain slices through my legs. I suck in air, gritting my teeth against it as I flop back into the pillows. Okay, so maybe sitting up isn’t going to be the piece of cake I thought. I guess I busted my legs in the crash.
I remember it now. The light, the car skidding out of control, the voices and confused thoughts. I crashed the car. That’s why I’m here. I wonder if the car’s redeemable at all. It’s a piece of crap, but it’s my piece of crap. I might insult it several times a day, but I love it. I hope it’s not wrecked beyond repair.
My eyes creep toward the water again. I’m so thirsty. I have to have a drink. It’s so close. All I need to do is reach out and shake Mom’s knee and I’m sure she’ll hand me the cup, but she looks so exhausted. I should let her sleep.
Steeling myself for the pain, I try rolling onto my side. It hurts like hell, but I manage it. Various tubes and wires connected to me tug at my skin, but I ignore it. Yeah! Chalk one up for Ozzy. What a hero, he can roll over in bed. From there, I try pushing myself up with my arms and into a sitting position. I gasp at the glassy pain, but this time I don’t give up. I wind up on my butt. From there I’m pretty sure I can lean over and reach the water. I fix my eyes on the prize, measuring the distance. It’s not far. I can do this. Stretching out my arm, I reach for it. When my fingers close around the cup, I feel an absurd sense of accomplishment. I sit back, clutching the cup, surprised to discover I’m breathing heavily. Damn, I must be out of shape. Already. I’m going to have to get back into the pool as soon as I can. Otherwise I have no shot at Nationals.
I drink deeply, gulping down the cool water. I’ve never known water to taste this good. This is what it must be like for people who get lost in the desert when they’re found. When the cup is empty, I let it drop. It bounces across the bed. I expect it to stop, its progress to be barricaded by my legs, but it keeps going, rolling to the opposite side and tumbling from the edge.
What the fuck?
I sit up straighter and stare down the length of the bed, seeing the way the sheets and blanket lie flat against the mattress, undisturbed by the mounds of my legs and feet. I stare at the smooth bedclothes. I don’t get it. What is going on here? I’m dreaming. That’s got to be it. This is some full-on fucking nightmare and I’ll wake up soon. But I don’t feel like I’m dreaming.
Where are my legs?
About The Author
Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale has settled in Wellington, New Zealand. A marketing executive, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.
She is the author of contemporary YA novels An Unstill Life and Stumped along with several others that no one is allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance, which will likely never see the light of day. She is working on several more YA novels that may or may not ever be finished…
Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.