Monday, June 24, 2013

Inspiration for SEE ME (Part 2 of using early photography as inspiration for your next novel)

Inspiration for SEE ME…
By Natalie-Nicole Bates

Last week, I discussed the different types of 19th and early 20th century photography. Today, I'll put that into action.

I did not begin as a writer. For many years I was simply a book lover who turned reviewer. About two years ago, I decided to start writing my own novel. A year later, I was a happily published author of two contemporary romances.

I was always fascinated by paranormal romance. But as a reviewer, I watched the paranormal market literally explode. Vampires, werewolves, shifters, even zombies were making appearances at an alarming rate. Writers were writing these markets and writing well.

So what to do?

Inspiration came fast. I am an avid collector of Victorian-era photography. To me, there is much beauty in these old photographs, and to my delight—much inspiration as well.
My first published paranormal short story, Antique Charming, was centered on a cabinet card from 1896 of a man standing outside of a funeral home.

                1896 cabinet card from my collection

Antique Charming was successful, but could I write a paranormal that would be a longer length than Antique Charming?

Once again, I returned to my photographs. I had recently bought a Carte de Visite (1860’s) of a beautiful little girl about age 3, her photo surrounded by a memorial wreath. In my mind, Baby Charlotte was born.

                        Inspiration for Baby Charlotte from my collection. Carte de Visite mentioned in SEE ME

SEE ME begins in 1896, where we meet sixteen year old Charlotte. Charlotte always knew she was special, but never knew why. She believed it all stemmed from a near drowning incident when she was three. An incident her family members refused to speak of.

Her hunch comes true one day in 1896 during a lumber yard fire when her true powers reach fruition.

One very small photograph from the 1860’s suddenly became one huge idea for a novella.

I then went in search of my Daniel Tremont, the hero of SEE ME. Daniel’s inspiration is a magnificent 1860’s Daguerreotype of a young man. The matt on this photograph is purple, which is usually the colour of significance for mourning, which means this young man probably passed away young. He was perfect.
Sometimes what you know well can be a powerful ally. In writing, this is so true. I took my love for Victorian photography and turned it into a plot for a novella that combines romance, paranormal, and a touch of my beloved horror.

                    Inspiration for Daniel Tremmont
                    Daguerreotype from my collection

                 Full case-note the purple mourning matt

I hope you will read SEE ME, now available at Leap of Faith Publishing. To view the photographs that inspired both SEE ME as well as Antique Charming and a small sampling of my collection, visit my new blog Ghosts and Phantoms at:

Buy Links:

SEE ME is available from Leap of Faith Publishing and Amazon.
Antique Charming (short story) available through Books To Go Now Publishing.

Social media links for Natalie-Nicole

Twitter- @BatesNatalie

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