Guest Post: Belfast Central Author @amherst_ak On Writing Inspiration @LoveBooksGroup

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Belfast 1993: A nocturnal ambulance service at the Belfast Central Station almost turns deadly for the young paramedic Ryan. In the crosshairs of the IRA, he is badly wounded and wakes up in the hospital with muddled memories. The police close the case fast, leaving too many burning questions unanswered. Most importantly, who was that old man who appeared at the scene out of nowhere and saved Ryan’s life? Not fully recovered yet, Ryan begins searching for the mysterious man, only to get dragged into a feud between opposing paramilitaries - with fatal consequences… 

A thrilling story about fates in 20th century Northern Ireland.  

Guest Post: A,K. Amherst's Writing Inspiration

I draw huge inspiration from traveling. Being in another country, experiencing another culture is really refreshing for my mind. While I am abroad it is important for me to feel like a local too. So I hardly ever stay in hotels but in apartments. I need my own „hood“, find my own favourite coffee place and go for groceries. Even if I just stay there for a week or two it’s possible to create a sense of belonging. Usually shop and restaurant owners recognise you quite fast if you visit regularly for some time. The trusted conversations that start to develop are really nice to experience.

Doing what locals do becomes a main part of my trips. One time in Canada, my guest mom and I got along so well, she took me to a backyard concert that no tourist would have known about. She practically knew everyone there and introduced me. It was a blast. Another time, my guest father in Australia took me on a private tour and told me World War II stories. These are experiences you can’t find during a booked tour or in a travel guide. - Not that they are bad, I have done them too, I just like to dig deeper.

When my first draft of „Belfast Central“ was done I went to Northern Ireland to do local research there. This was important for me. I wanted to get the story right and also needed to find the answers to some remaining questions. I spent a whole afternoon in the Linen Hall Library in Belfast and visited all the settings of my book. It was a mind-blowing experience. I was probably the only tourist at that car rental who didn’t go to the Giant’s Causeway but to Down Patrick - the hometown of one of my main characters.  

So yeah, traveling is one huge source of inspiration for me. Another one is music. Lyrics usually don’t tell the whole story. They just hint at something and raise the feeling that there is so much more underneath. That’s what makes them so powerful. When I am plotting a story or creating a character I am listening to songs that touch me again and again. I am then trying to find one possible story behind those lyrics.

Whenever I am stuck with a story a walk with my dog can do wonders. Around our home, there are a lot of tracks in the forest and the fields. I am relaxed as soon as I get out there and for a moment I even forget about the writing issues I have. 

While walking one of our favourite tracks I decided to give one troublesome plot another try. I still remember the exact spot where I solved the problem. Now, whenever I continue working on that story I walk this certain track with my dog.  Whenever I am working on my other book idea I walk another track to not mix the ideas. 

I guess it is a kind of superstition, like when players of a certain sport wear their lucky shirt for a game. I have my special lyrics and my lucky tracks for each and every story.

About the Author

Born and raised in Austria, A.K. Amherst travelled the world from a young age. This influenced her writing, which relates to the history and cultures of foreign countries. Intensive research is part of her job, and she really loves her job. You want to be taken into another setting and experience life from a different angle? Then Amherst is the writer for you.

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