It wasn’t so much a case of finding my muse, but of him finding me…and the fact that he was male and not at all like everyone else’s amenable female literary helpmeet ought to have given me a clue that I’d been sold a pup.
However, in self-defence I have to say that I was still in my teens when he arrived, bag and baggage. There was quite a lot of baggage, most of it smelling suspiciously of sulphur…
I often mention Muse on social networking sites, and over the years I’ve been asked about him so many times that I’ve added an explanation to the start of every newsletter I send out, which goes like this:
The plot so far: Except when she is occasionally let out to enjoy a couple of days of frenetic partying in London, or to give a talk, Trisha lives in beautiful North Wales, together with the neurotic Border Collie foisted onto her by her son and an equally neurotic but also vain, bad-tempered and chancy Muse.
Muse, whose first name is Lucifer, slipped into her head and took up residence while she was reading Paradise Lost at school and refused to leave. He is male, steely-blue, wears a lot of leather, is winged, has talons (so that’s where her blue nail varnish went, then) and is devilishly handsome, if you like that kind of thing. He only eats words, but gets through a lot of Leather Food and Trisha is starting to suspect that he does more with it than just rub it into his wings…
Lately, Muse has been writing a hiss-and-tell account of his life with Trisha, called The Muse Report, though due to the fact that he eats his words almost as fast as he writes them, it could be quite some time before this appears in print.
You see? He isn’t your typical muse. And even if I was the soppy, soulful Amelia Bassett type, prone to saying things like ‘Oh, I can’t possibly start writing until my Muse has let fall the first few precious words’ (‘precious’ being the operative word here: I mean, if you’re a writer, you write – get on with it), by the time I’ve leapt up and snatched Muse out of the air, where he’s aimlessly circling the light-fitting like a slightly deranged moth and then arm-wrestled him into submission (I always win), the writing adrenalin is pumping and I’m off.
A Muse inspires you: I’m sure mine helped give a bit of edge to the satirical novels I wrote in my twenties and, allied to my dark sense of humour in adversity, to the romantic comedies I write now.
A Muse isn’t an excuse not to write (authors are very good at finding those), or something you have to wait for before you can get over writer’s block. The latter is an expensive luxury anyway: if you have a mortgage you never get it.
A large rock may suddenly block your path, but you just walk around it and carry on: you’ll pick up the path on the other side even if it goes in a totally different direction to the one you thought you needed. (Much more exciting – I never know where my books are going till the end of the first draft). Anyway, I always have something I’m burning to say: why would I write novels if I didn’t?
And no, of course I don’t really think Muse exists – do you think I’m quite mad? (Trisha ducks as something sweeps towards her with a soft susurration of leathery wings and invisible talons rake her already dishevelled hair…)
Trisha was born in St Helens, Lancashire, and gave up her fascinating but time consuming hobbies of house-moving and divorce a few years ago in order to settle in North Wales. She is a Sunday Times bestselling author.
You can buy her latest novel “Wish upon a Star” here
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