There were a few sources of inspiration that caused me to write Black Eyed Boy and helped to make it the story it is today.
Emily. The character of Emily was born in my mind a while ago. She would be loosely based on my cousin and she would have red hair. That was my starting point.
THE BOY. The mysterious gypsy stranger. I had a vague idea of what he would look like. I knew that he should have a dark secret and a remarkable story. It was the song by Texas that gave me the title. But what was in his clandestine history?
THE SECRET. I love horror. And I didn’t have to look very far. Once I had the vision of a boy with black eyes, I turned to Edgar Allan Poe.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. This was a no-brainer and I never considered setting the book anywhere but Whitby. The seaside town already has strong Gothic links with scenes in Bram Stoker’s Dracula taking place there. It is my favourite place; if I closed my eyes I could be there. The sights, the smells and the sounds were all at my fingertips.
LONELINESS. Emily had to need Dylan as well as just want him. Add dysfunctional parents and no surviving siblings and Emily was almost always alone. I may not have an alcoholic father or a terminally ill mother, but I do know about broken family relationships. A classic case of "writing what you know."
THE OTHER ONE. The love triangle. The male friend who yearns for more. Hardly unique, I grant you. I realised that I would need some essential romantic storyline ingredients to make this work. And along came Billy. I wanted him to be both cute and spiteful. A Jekyll and Hyde. I love him and I hate him.
A SHOULDER TO CRY ON. Sweet, knowing Mrs Bishop. I know that some readers have chosen her as their favourite character and I completely understand why. She is made up of fragments of all of the kindest and supportive people that I have met over the years. Yes, I love her too.
TISSUES ESSENTIAL. I wanted raw emotion all the way through. I tried to feel what Emily would feel. I imagined all of the worst things that could happen to people and I poured tears into Black Eyed Boy. And then I made it all okay again at the end. There is tragedy and loss and very real heartbreak. Then there is hope. Sometimes, that’s all we need.