I was at a party recently and somebody asked me where I got my ideas for stories. From everywhere, was my answer. Something I've seen, heard or read about can trigger a whole load of spin off ideas which bit by bit come together to form the basis for a story. The idea for Loose Connection came from two very different directions, but followed this pattern.
I used to know a group of students who lived and socialised together and did the same course. They were posh, well-off and had an overwhelming sense of themselves as being apart from everybody else. Years later I still remember them, and they gave me the idea for the very tight-knit group that is Rick, Archie and Zack, and Jake. The boys have carried that relationship forward into their adult working lives, and it's a strong as ever - until Rick meets Matt and then the boat is well and truly rocked.
The other idea came from a friend talking about his family background. Traditional working-class Irish Catholics, life was about learning a trade, getting married and having babies. My friend deviated from that track, and caused a ruckus in the process. The idea of Matt, a plumber with rough work-calloused hands, grew out of this conversation. Like my friend, Matt took a different route and the result is explosive.
If you've read Imperfect, you'll remember that food and drink play a big part in that story. It's the same for Loose Connection. These boys love to eat, and Rick and his pals are always digging into biscuits, pastries (pain au chocolat is a favourite) and cake. Which gives me an excellent excuse for posting up the badly taken photo of a piece of rainbow cake, which I saw in a local bakery. It was lunch time, and there was a queue, so I had to snap it quickly...
A E Ryecart
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