My inspiration for A Far Away Magic was a real person, who I never knew, and who I only saw for the briefest moment.
I was driving past my local secondary school on my way to the supermarket, when I noticed a boy walking away from the school. He had long, curly dark hair and he walked with a stoop, his head lowered, as if he wanted to be invisible. He was the loneliest figure I think I’ve ever seen, and though I saw him just for a flash, he never left me. I can still see him now, clear as anything, and it must be six years since that day.
He became Bavar, in my mind, and for quite a long time I didn’t know quite how to deal with Bavar. I knew he had magic, and that he lived in a huge, peculiar house up on a hill, but when I wrote him, he didn’t speak much. He didn’t really want to have an adventure, he just wanted to be left alone. He made himself invisible at school, just so he wouldn’t be bothered – and then Angel came in and changed everything.
Angel is a girl who looks pretty normal on the outside but who has been through terrible things that have changed her on the inside. When she sees Bavar she just knows he is more than he seems, that he is part of that magical world that left her without her parents. I don’t know quite how my mind came up with Angel, but she was just what Bavar needed, and without them both I could never have written A Far Away Magic.
Now it’s Your Turn
For me, the story starts with characters. And the brightest characters seem to come to me when I’m not thinking about much at all. My challenge to you is to go out with an open mind, and try to really see everything. Most of the time we’re busy, we’re on our way somewhere, we have things on our minds. Maybe we don’t see the trees, the rooftops, the clouds, the people walking past us; the dog pulling at its lead, the woman with too much shopping, the toddler on a scooter. They are all stories, just waiting to come to you. See everything, and let your mind be free to wander. And then sit down and see what comes out!