My Inspiration: Amy Lord | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Middlesbrough based author, Amy Lord is working with the world’s first crowdfunding publisher, Unbound to release dystopian novel, The Disappeared. The book won a Northern Writers’ Award and was longlisted in The Bath Novel Award. It’s about a young woman who uses banned books to fight back against an authoritarian regime, after the disappearance of her father.

Amy will be appearing at Middlesbrough Central Library for an author talk on Thursday 23 May at 6pm, as part of the library’s Writing: Making Your Mark exhibition. She will also be signing books at Book Corner Saltburn on Saturday 8 June from 11am to 1pm.

The Disappeared was published on Thursday 2nd May (available from Amazon and Waterstones), so we asked Amy if she would share the inspiration behind her work.

I’ve always been fascinated by other people’s stories, whether real or fictional. It doesn’t take a lot to make me wonder about something, to set my imagination running. Travelling by train is perfect for that: I’ve spent so many hours staring out of the window, noticing the fleeting details and wondering about the stories behind them.

But I spend a lot of time seeking inspiration in the arts, whether that’s books, music, even television. A good story has a magic to it, one that draws you in and doesn’t let go, even when it’s long finished. I don’t care what form the story’s in, as long as it has that emotional power.

Books
Since The Handmaid’s Tale was adapted for television, it’s felt like a cliché to cite it as one of my inspirations, but the book had a huge impact on me. I first read it when studying for my A-Levels and was struck by the language and the way Margaret Atwood plays with meaning, layering complex emotions beneath simple phrases that haunt you long after you’ve finished reading.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel had a similar effect. It’s set in a near-future where most of humanity has been wiped out by a sudden plague. There are passages where characters reflect on the things they miss from the modern world, the small, everyday things that blinked out when the world changed so completely.  

Music
Music is a big part of my writing process. For me, creativity is tied to emotion, so I like to listen to songs that evoke a certain mood or feeling that helps me tap into that. Having earphones in also provides a good physical barrier to feel closed off from the world and focused on the story in my head.

I go to a lot of gigs in and around the North East, so my writing playlist is full of local artists like Nadine Shah, Cape Cub and Tom Joshua, as well as the likes of Radiohead, Noah Gundersen and FKA Twigs.

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