This is the first in an occasional series of things that inspired me while creating a book. Any story is more than just a collection of words, and the pieces that go into the original making can be diverse and many – a fragment of conversation, a song heard on the radio late at night, an image viewed briefly from a train window… All those have been part of the strange and sometimes incomprehensible process of imagining that eventually results in one of my tales, long or short.
Many of these inspirations are not apparent in the finished product. Some are more overt, and in occasional cases designed as such to create resonances, for instance Francis Ford Coppola’s movie Apocalypse Now and the long, difficult boat trip in the Far Lands in The Queen of Sinister.
A lot of influences went into the bubbling cauldron for my next book The Burning Man, but one of the most powerful was Songs from the Victorious City, a mysterious and evocative blend of Middle Eastern sounds and westernised constructions by Anne Dudley and former Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman. It’s a fantastically powerful musical poem about Cairo, and was an effective backdrop while I was writing a long sequence set in that city, even with the odd scratch and sizzle of my old vinyl version.
Worth a listen.