The Magic Lives On! My reflections on the latest Harry Potter book.

At first, I wasn’t that excited about The Cursed Child. Maybe that’s because I thought it was a random spin-off (much like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), but when I picked it up in the bookstore, I was instantly transported back in time and felt the same feverish excitement that I felt as a kid!

There was no mistake about it: this was the latest Harry Potter book! Yes, it might well be a screenplay, but it is still a continuation of the original saga. When I held it in my hands and saw “The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later” written on the back cover, it gave me goosebumps! I don’t even  care if this was a marketing ploy because it bloody well worked! Shut up and take my money =P

Something reawakened within me on that day. I have not felt such frenzied excitement about a franchise for a long time and The Cursed Child seemed to open up that portal to my younger self. Where did the magic go, I wonder? Why do I no longer spend hours trawling fan sites or daydreaming about Hogwarts and hobbits? 

Granted, I am in the middle of writing a fantasy novel, so I do still use my imagination quite a lot. But I cannot help but notice that my soul lacks nourishment from other sources. And it is important, I think, for a writer to fuel themselves with inspiration, otherwise they go stale and lose their mojo. 

So what’s changed? Why is it that Pokemon Go only excited me for a week? Why is it that I didn’t get excited whatsoever with the build-up to The Cursed Child‘s release? Could it be that I no longer remember the way to Platform 9 3/4?

The sad truth is that life has got in the way, as it does with so many people. I also put too much pressure on myself to be productive, forgetting to play and nourish my soul with magic. Alas, for may people let their creative flame go out entirely, but I do everything in my power to keep it burning brightly. 

Every time I return to the likes of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, my soul is instantly nourished. Too often I have been distracted by mundane trifles, but I still believe in magic. My soul still soars when I hear the LOTR soundtrack or re-read Harry Potter, so revisiting the wizarding world and seeing what the characters were doing nineteen years later was absolutely marvellous! 

Some have said The Cursed Child feels a bit fan-fictiony, but the original magic was undeniably present  (and JK put her official stamp on it, which is good enough for me). I was surprised by the intense emotion it evoked, particularly in the scene where Harry has a heart-to-heart with Dumbledore’s painting. And that scene with the trolley lady.. kudos to the writers!

From now on, I will make a conscious effort to do more of what I love. The magic lives on within me and I refuse to let it lie dormant. Whether creating my own material or soaking up the goodness of others, I give myself to that which excites me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and meet Minerva McGonagall in Hogsmeade. There was a dispute between our owls and she wants to patch things up. Fingers crossed we can because I’m applying to be the new Professor of Astronomy, so hopefully my silly owl hasn’t messed things up!


Fantasy: A welcome escape

Once again, inspiration has struck me, this time in the form of fantasy.

I have always loved writing fantasy. During my teenage years, while facing the trials and tribulations of high school, I used to find solace in the mythical lands that I had created. However, I never managed to finish the story, despite working on it almost every night after school.

For whatever reason, my first two proper books were very much anchored in reality, but now I yearn to create something more fantastical. I have been receiving inspiration for characters and plot-lines for well over a year now, but recently it’s all clicked into place. In other words, the pieces of the jigsaw have finally come together!

Creating a new world is truly liberating, but it’s also a massive undertaking! To my delight, I’ve managed to work in some elements from my original fantasy tale, so that the spirit of my childhood brilliance lives on! And also, it’s going to be a trilogy, so that means that extra care needs to be taken with weaving the narrative together.

Quite simply, I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenge. It’s a great opportunity to go crazy with my imagination, creating different kingdoms and religions and creatures and characters. Okay, I’m inspired again… imagination land, here I come! 🙂

Speak to you soon, guys!

Where does your passion stem from?

Everybody’s passion stems from somewhere.

My passion for writing began at primary school, many moons ago, when we wrote stories in class. Gripping tales such as planes crash-landing in the Sahara desert and rescuing people from burning buildings. My Year 4 teacher, Mr Sowden, gave me much encouragement and offered to photocopy the stories from my exercise book so that I could take them home. For the first time in my life, I felt special, as though I was top of the class, and thoroughly enjoyed indulging in this new hobby.

I started to write stories at home. Usually sequels to the things I watched, like A Bug’s Life or Jungle Book. But also, I based stories around well-known franchises, such as Thomas the Tank Engine and the board game Frustration. I still have all the stories in an orange ringbinder somewhere. Though I’ll refrain from publishing them, otherwise I’d be on my arse with copyright lawsuits!

In the year 2000, I went on holiday to Greece with my family. There, on a market stall, I purchased the tiniest little book (smaller than a matchbox), which was attached to a key ring. This book had Winnie the Pooh on its covers, so I decided to write a fan fiction about Winnie and his friends, in which many of the cuddly characters perished! Don’t blame me though; blame Tigger’s evil twin brother, “Tige”!

My copyright-breaching days passed when I came up with a story called “The Last One To Live”, which was a fantasy story, heavily inspired by The Lord of the Rings. I took this story forward into high school and it became my escape for the next five years. I hated high school; it was like a prison. But writing offered me a way out, an escape into a different world that existed inside my head. In school, I often zoned out and drifted off to this far-away place in which I was God. And every night, after a day of hell, I wrote my little heart out in small notebooks purchased from Woolworths (RIP Woolies).

Unfortunately, I never finished that story. As I grew older, I realised that its structure was fundamentally flawed. I did attempt several redrafts to salvage it but eventually gave up. Some day, I hope to return to it and take forward some of its best elements to create something amazing. But for now, other projects await me.

Anyhow, that’s how my passion for writing began. An account of the early days, in which the world was a different place, but my passion burned stronger than ever. Where did your passion stem from?