Today I am delighted to welcome lovely Tara Lyons to the blog to tell us all about how a weekend away with the girls provided the unexpected inspiration to expand her writing horizons.
Each year, my girlfriends and I go on a weekend away. At one point or another in the last ten years, we’ve all worked with each other, but with retirement, redundancy and new jobs, we’re now all doing something different. So, we make sure that the eight of us get our girls weekend away every year. We’ve planned Ireland for next year, it was Brighton this year and last year was the beautiful Ambleside in the Lake District.
When we went away last October, I hadn’t envisioned I’d be inspired to write the third book in my DI Hamilton series. I mean, it’s set in London, for one thing. But also, it was just my usually once a year getaway with the girls; letting our hair down, catching up and chilling out. So, I was quite surprised when four of us decided to take an early boat trip out around the lake.
Ambleside is a beautiful part of the country, and we were very lucky with the weather in October. There was no rain, but it was fresh. The leaves crunched under our feet as we walked towards the jetty and the air had that coolness about it – you know, when you inhale it deeply and feel it in your lungs. The sea breeze strokes your face and you just feel alive. It’s not a feeling I get very often living in a busy and crowded London.
The guy at the ticket office explained we could spend about forty-five minutes on the boat, just taking a tour, or we could choose to get off at one stop and jump on a later boat. We decided on the tour – we had a spa afternoon booked in also, you understand – and we set off, sitting up front. I’m definitely one of those people who are calmed by the sea and love any kind of boat trips. The scenery surrounding the lake is absorbing, and I guess I’ve always found it quite romantic and beautiful. But, on that day, I saw something different.
As the boat approached its first stop across the lake, I saw the mystery behind the beauty. The way a huge tree blocked our vision of the island and how its gigantic branches hung low, almost touching the lake. The weather-beaten boat house and rusty chains dangling from the jetty into the murky water. I was looking at Ambleside with my author’s eyes and had been inspired for a story.
During the boat trip, I snapped a variety of scenes from different angles, concentrating on the trees and old boat house we’d stopped at. Then, when I returned home, I was still occupied with book two in the series, but I didn’t want to lose the momentum from my weekend away. I created a folder on my laptop, named inspirational photographs, and filled it with all the different ones I’d taken of Ambleside, the lake and during our visit into the small town of Keswick. I didn’t have the story in my mind, but I knew these images were my starting point.
Once I’d completed No Safe Home, I moved on to planning book three and how I’d get my London based detective, Denis Hamilton, to Ambleside. And so, his mother’s story was created: Philippa retired to the Lake District and runs a small tea shop. Denis and his wife were enjoying a long weekend there when he stumbled across a murder scene at the very boat house I’d visited. The fact I had taken the trip with my friends seemed to be the perfect base for my next story and so Deadly Friendship, book three in the series, was published in July.
Tara is a crime/psychological thriller author from London, UK. Turning 30 in 2015 propelled her to fulfil her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. In the Shadows is Tara's debut solo novel published in March 2016. She co-wrote The Caller and Web of Deceit: A DI Sally Parker novella with New York Times bestselling author, M.A Comley.
In August 2016 Tara signed a two-book contract with Bloodhound Books. The third book in the DI Hamilton series, Deadly Friendship, was published in January 2017.
When she's not writing, Tara can be found at a local Wacky Warehouse stuck in the ball-pit with her young, energetic son.
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