Three Films, Three Stories
For anyone that has been following my blog for a while now, you know that there are films that have inspired my published novels so far. To mention a familiar few classic Gothic horror films: Dragonwyck (1949), House of Usher (1960) and Rebecca (1940). These film tend to fall into the same genre, but there are others that have indirectly inspired my writing because of the characters or the nature of the themes. This is especially true for some upcoming novels that are still in the works, so without further ado, here are three films that have inspired me to write. Enjoy the sneak peak!
1. The Dead Poet Society (1989)
As a lover of education and the teaching profession as a whole, it was only a matter of time until I dipped my pen to write a romance story focused on this theme. My upcoming novel 'At Peace' centers around the protagonist, Edith Keats. It is a coming of age story as Edith passes through her final years of schooling at a boarding school specifically designed for girls. The story is important to me because I wanted a story to focus on the love of literature, more importantly, the impact it can have upon on a person. Edith Keats is someone that genuinely loves literature, and this adoration allows her to come under the protective wing of a mentor and inevitably friend, Mr. Hatton, the headmaster of the English literature department. Their genuine love of all things literature allows them to form a strong bond with one another, but growing rumours involving a potential scandal and the major threat to Mr. Hatton's profession forces their friendship to come to an abrupt ending. Heartbroken by the sudden severing of her friendship with her mentor and teacher, it makes Edith wonder if she will ever find peace in this world. To make matters worse, right before she departs the boarding school forever she comes to dreadful realization that their friendship has kindled to something more, and her heavy heart is unable to cope with the fact that it could never be.
For those of you that watched 'Dead Poet's Society' you might see a resemblance to a name. The main character that stole the show is an English teacher, Mr. John Keating, that inspired his students to learn to think for themselves. He made the arts of English literature boldly come alive for his students and inspired them to create a secret club called "The Dead Poet's Society." I have watched this film countless times, as a matter of fact it inspired me to become a teacher.
When I wrote 'At Peace' it was with a clear intent to not make the relationship between Mr. Hatton and his pupil, Edith, become inappropriate. The aim of this novel is to showcase that sometimes students do need a mentor in their life aside from their parents, and it can come in all forms including a teacher. Rest assure, that their relationship is strictly professional. Edith does develops romantic feelings for her teacher overtime, however, it is a result of a bond so strong that it feels as though they are soul mates- they are so similar and yet different that it puzzles her exceedingly. 'At Peace' is a heart-wrenching romance tale, it is a story that follows Edith Keats throughout her youth into her early years of her adulthood where she must venture out into the world alone with the many lessons she has learned from her mentor and friend, Mr. Hatton.
2. Eragon (2006)
Very few people know that I have been working on a fantasy novel for several years. It is still unfinished, but I believe I can finish the entire story by the end of the year. The story is so long that I have no choice but to divide it into two books, and the first one should debut on the popular website WebNovel in the near future. This secret fantasy story that I have been working on is called 'Destiny' and it is about a young woman, Evelyn Keyes, that is faced with the dangers of a prophecy surrounding her to end the brutal decimation of magic upon the land. As a child, Evelyn had to run away from her local village once rumours surrounded her family about her mother being a witch. A lie that forced them to flee home in the dead of night, and take refuge in an abandoned forest for most of her life. Now an orphan without a friend in the world she comes across a stranger, a man with magic and a prophetic warning of the great future that awaits her.
I first read the novel series 'Eragon' in my early high school years. I can still remember taking it out of my local library and reading it on the bus ride home. I was never a fan of the genre, but I believe it was the front cover that really drew me in. I frantically read the entire series within a year and I had the good fortune to watch the film shortly after it came out in theatres. Admittedly, it veered far from the book premises (much to my horror) but it still retained the lightheartedness when it came to magic and dragons. This movie and the BBC television show 'Merlin' (2008) inspired me to sit down and write a fantasy novel that was dark, filled with tension, and a plot-line where the main character anxiously fears the hands of destiny that bound her to two men that will play a role in the future of their kingdom.
I am still in the early stages of working with the editors from WebNovel to debut this story, but once the contract is finalized I can provide you with some more news.
3. Dracula Untold (2014)
When working on the final adaption of the dark fantasy novel 'Far from Home: Book Three' I had this film in mind. In the third instalment, Aodhan McVeigh is on a quest to reclaim his lost lover. Time and distance has separated them, but his love for Victoria remains the same. He will go through heaven or hell to reclaim her, and will stop at nothing to get his way.
The love story between Count Dracula and Minera in the film 'Dracula Untold' really spoke to me. It inspired me to write a story that dealt with the theme of "this lifetime and the next." I wanted to show that love can cross all boundaries, even ones that lie beyond the grave. Aodhan is tragically and rather suddenly separated from his lover. Just like in the film 'Dracula Untold' it is up to the main character, Aodhan, to find a way to be rejoined with his wife.
I believe that the final adaption is a very dark love story about love knowing no bounds, and the manner of a soul being desperate to cling to another. Their is an unholy bond between Aodhan and Victoria, brought on through the shared transfer of their blood and their ability to walk the earth as vampires. Their lives are in jeopardy, however, and as the centuries pass away, it is Aodhan that finds himself in awkward predicament where he must blend into society to avoid the detection of the police and the mass media that is determined to uncover the serial killer stalking the London streets at night. While avoiding the detection of others, he is also on a quest to be rejoined with his past lover that has haunted his mind and heart for ages.
Book Review - Rich Dad Poor Dad
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Life changing read. A book that shatters my prior conceptions about money and my personal finances. A harsh moment of epiphany where I realized that all my life I have been having the "Poor Dad" mindset. Growing up I was told to work hard, go to University and find a steady job. This is the "Poor Dad" mindset, because we are using our time and effort to generate the money ourselves. The "Rich Dad" does the opposite- he makes the money work and NOT himself.
I am fairly familiar with a few classic finance books such as Napolean Hills' 'Think and Grow Rich' and some of Peter Lynch's financial books about the stock market. Robert Kiyosaki book was life changing, however, because it altered my perception of reality. It made me realize that instead of working hard at a job and saving for retirement through pensions that there are other ways to achieve financial freedom. I am eternally grateful for finding this book and to my fellow book reviewers online that have been suggesting this book for months.
I recommend 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' to anyone that wants to achieve financial freedom and get out of the rat race. I also recommend Robert's podcast that you can find on Youtube, Spotify or other streaming playlists. It will change your perception about money forever!
On a final note, I think the biggest takeaway is learning about real estate. Presently, I have no interest in dabbling it, BUT this book did teach me a lot of when to buy real estate and more importantly when to sell it. I know that my end goal is to own a plot of land in ten years time, so this book really helped me generate some ideas on how to achieve this goal without going through the traditional route of using your "earned income" or "requesting a loan from a bank." Another take-away I got from this book is the benefits of the stock market. I have been dabbling in it for the last four months and have learned a lot from my newbie mistakes. The financial books that I have been streaming on Youtube and simply listening to podcasts on Spotify have helped me discern the right stocks to buy in the near future. I hope to take up Robbie's advice and enrol in some financial classes and simply network with others to better learn about the financial game. I am really loving it so far, and it is taking up a lot of my time this summer. Anyways, thank you for taking time to read this review and I recommend this book to everyone.
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A lot of my readers have described my writing as exceptionally visual, almost to the point that it feels like they are watching a scene play out before their very eyes. A lot of my success comes to practice, but it also stems from visual inspirations that help me sharpen a scenery or visual characteristics of the main characters. So without further ado, here are the top five television shows that have inspired my writings for the books published so far (and upcoming ones in the near future).
1. The Alienist
The corona-virus pandemic in the year 2020 meant that a lot more people were binge watching shows on Netflix, myself included. Although most of my time was spent watching historical and philosophical documentaries, it also meant that I could find time to watch some period dramas as well.
Although I did not make it through the first season of this show, I was still able to appreciate the visual aspects of it. A lover of films and television shows set during the nineteenth century, The Alienist, was no exception to the media that normally peaked my interest.
A long time fan of the actor Luke Evans, it was to my delight that he played a deeply sensitive and emphatic visual artist that depicted crime scenes for the local police. I was struck by the vulnerability of the character, the sheer emotion expressed by his eyes and subtle facial expressions. Luke Evans character, John Moore, became the main inspiration for me when I was writing my historical novel 'Awakening.' Visually speaking, I tried to closely align the character Elliot Summers to the one depicted in the Netflix television show The Alienist. There is also an attempt to capture the empathy and good, noble-like nature that John Moore possess in the show. Although I eventually lost interest in the The Alienist by the end of season one, it still made a major impact on my writing style and the manner of me approaching the reserved banker, Mr. Elliot Summer.
Netflix also blessed me with the crime drama, Broadchurch, a couple of years back. Always a fan of David Tennant (I blame Doctor Who) there was no hesitation to check out this show online. Let me tell you that it is well worth a watch! You will not expect the plot-twist at the end of season one. Needless to say, I managed to binge watch the entire season to my delight.
The main inspiration I took from this crime drama is the scenery. Against the back drop of the crime scene and awful litigation we get to see golden sand, the sky-blue sea and towering cliffs. When crafting 'The Tragic Tale of Teddy Woven' I took a lot of inspiration from this television show. The predominant location for this show is in Dorset, England. The idealistic scenery has persuaded me to visit the sea-side town one day with my own eyes. Ideally, Teddy Woven's home would be at the top of the cliff to overlook the changing tide and to breathe in the freshness of the air at any given moment. Such a romantic back-drop can hide the true terrors that lurk inside his home, but that is for the audience and poor Sela to figure out.
3. Peaky Blinders
Another Netflix series listed as one of my inspirations for writing is the classic television show, Peaky Blinders. Set in the 1920's, Birmingham is run by gangsters that desire to run the city with drugs, violence and sex. The leader of the gang is a Mr. Thomas Shelby, and he will stop at nothing to obtain power and wealth.
A lot of the book reviews so far have referenced this television show, citing there is a strong resemblance between the two. Personally, I don't see such resemblance in 'Awakening' but I do see it in the 'Far from Home' series. I believe you will see some ties to the television show in 'Far from Home: Book Two' when the readers are introduced to travelling Gypsies in Ireland and the powerful forces Mr. Aodhan McVeigh wields in his home country as he sinks his teeth into the drug wars and criminal violence. McVeigh goes by the nickname the "Bloody Hand" for a reason, and no one can expect the great lengths of violence and intimidation he will do to get what his heart truly desires.
Two characters from the Peaky Blinders inspired my writing for the 'Far from Home' series. The first is Mr. Thomas Shelby, a prominent leader of a gang with ruthless ambitious and need for control. The second is Mr. Aberama Gold, a traveller that wants to hold onto his traditional ways as a traveller, but also see's an advantage in aligning himself with powerful men to receive monetary gain and a better way of life. Undoubtedly, you will see some inspiration in the later adaptions of 'Far from Home' when they debut in the year 2022 and 2023.
4. Sherlock Holmes
Anyone a Sherlockian? If so, I highly recommend this classic rendition of Sherlock Holmes tales, which is starred by the loveable Jeremy Brett and David Burke. I read the books during my undergrad, and about a year later stumbled upon this television series on YouTube. It was an easy addiction, and a show I still refer to when writing mysteries.
'Far from Home: Book One' was strongly influenced by the character Sherlock Holmes and his mysterious. Although, the main character, Detective Jessie Varon, is not as clever as Sherlock Holmes, readers can still see a likeness to famous detective that resides in 221B Baker Street.
Detective Varon is an outsider, not belonging to the other English detectives that are at the top of the game. As an immigrant born into poverty and slowly making his way up the ranks, it is clear that he has to prove himself to his superiors. Detective Varon is faced with a difficult task to uncover the mystery surrounding Victoria Reeds in book one of 'Far from Home." His sidekick, Wells, adds some comedic effect as they work through this mystery together, showcasing their ardent affection for one another as they tackle the difficult task of locating the illusive 'Bloody Hand' otherwise known as Mr. McVeigh in the slums of London.
If you are a fan of a good old fashioned mystery, or a lover of Sherlock Holmes, I can assure you that you will fall in love with the 'Far from Home' book series.
5. Penny Dreadful
Are you a fan of Gothic horror? Do you love haunted castles? Eerie ghosts, vampires, or other ghoulish creatures that stalk the night? I have the perfect television show for you called "Penny Dreadful" that will wet your appetite for all things dark and disastrous.
I recently discovered this show after a dear friend's recommendation. She knew that I had a thing for Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray," and kindly recommended this show that had a spin-off for this elusive character. So, not only was I exposed to electrifying charms of Dorian Gray, I also was able to witness Bram Stoker's "Dracula" come to life and Shelly's "Frankenstein."
When writing the short fantasy novella "Far from Home: Book Three" you can see a major inspiration from this television show. The third part to this series veers away from mystery and instead focuses on the orgins of Aodhan McVeigh. The readers are able to uncover the secrets of his past, and more importantly the new desire that drills away into his heart. The life of a vampire is never easy, not easy for McVeigh. As he ventures through the dark parts of London City in the early years of World War One, the audience gets to see the gradual transformation of this character as he has lived long beyond his time. A man of centuries ago, it will be difficult for him to fit into modern society, especially since the lifestyle of men and women are dramatically changing as the English wage war against the Germans. The third part to this story still retains its natural darkness, many unsuspecting victims are taken by McVeigh as he feasts on their blood, but he is also in the process of recruiting another to be just like him, and that can spell danger for mankind as a whole.
Pressing on the Brakes
For those of you that follow me regularly on social media, especially Instagram, you are aware that I have a secret project in the works. My historical novel 'At Peace' was expected to debut at the end of the year. After some long periods of consideration, I have decided that 'At Peace' will come out in June 2022.
The main reason for this push back is that I will be returning to my former job (before Covid-19 turned my world upside down and I got laid off from my job). More importantly, I am planning to move overseas for a new position at the end of December, so that will be my primary focus for the next few months.
I do apologize to my fans for this major inconvenience. I am aware that many of you were excited for my new book, but I thought it deserved the respect it deserved by pushing back the premiere date. It is more important to me to put 100% of my effort, time and focus into this novel, rather than rushing through the process and diminishing its value to the reader.
On a happier note, I am planning to partner up with a indie artist on Instagram for the book cover. If you want a sneak peak of the kind of art that will be displayed on the front cover, please visit her Instagram page @heafjaart
Thank you for your patience and understanding. 'At Peace' will be my longest novel to date, and the most heart-wrenching romance in my opinion. You can expect some more updates on my latest novel in the coming months.
Thank you once more,