That old chestnut every writer is asked is always a tricky one to answer but now and then you come across some snippet that you think is too good to ignore.
With my folk horror/fantasy hat on that usually meant old myths and legends, or more precisely the creatures that inhabit them – i.e. find a monster or trope and run with it.
In writing my novella, A Small Thing For Yolanda, I came a little closer to real events when I overlaid the unsolved murder case of Laetitia Toureaux in Paris of 1937 with a folk-horror theme.
My current Bunch Courtney W-I-P is also very loosely inspired by a pre-ww2 murder case, and the recently published Listed Dead also had its roots in a local news story told to me many years ago by my aunt.
The one thing all of these is have in common is the distance of time that has made those events, and the people involved in them, to become not just a part of history but of myth and legend.
Today I came across a news headline that read “Unsolved murder-suicides could be work of serial killer”.
As almost every writer I know would do I made copious notes and thought about how I could use that case in one of my crime books – and then the back of my brain started poking my conscience with the thought that until quite recently these are (or rather were) living people.
I have no doubt those notes will become a Bunch Courtney Investigation in a heavily (?) disguised manner but it made me think for a moment. Writers all across the globe have been busy writing pandemic-themed stories. Tsunamis and yes, wars, have inspired many a novel.
The simple truth is writers may gather inspiration from all manner of sources but fact will invariably outdo fiction.