When you’re writing a crime/mystery novel, your focus gets very insular. You get so close to what you’re doing that, I find, it’s really important to occasionally look outside for inspiration.
When I’m stuck or stale, I get inspired by (and this is a work-in-progress list):
The Dark is Rising Sequence – Susan Cooper
The Secret History/The Little Friend – Donna Tartt
Inspector Morse (the whole series) – Colin Dexter
Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow – Peter Hoeg
A Place of Execution – Val McDermid
The Ice House – Minette Walters
And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Devices and Desires – PD James (the opening scene still gives me shivers)
Death of a Wombat – Ivan Smith and Clifton Pugh
Stasiland – Anna Funder
Anything by Henning Mankell
The Killing (Danish version)
Red Riding Trilogy
Let The Right One In (Swedish version)
Picnic at Hanging Rock
The Ghost Writer
December – George Winston
Bruny Island – I stay at my shack on my own, which terrifies me (and is therefore good for crime-writing).
Tasmania’s East (the empty coastline from Swansea upwards) or West Coast (especially Strahan, Macquarie Harbour and Gordon River), or the Midlands (the wide open farmlands and bleak hills).
I use Ommwriter occasionally
Wallpaper – currently, this Donna Tartt one
Looking at this list, I realise the majority of items on it are notable for their remarkable expression of a ‘sense of place’ – particularly a cold, out-of-the-way, edge-of-the-world place… (hello Tasmania). There are many, many more books, for example, that I absolutely love, but they don’t all make the cut when I need to be inspired in my own writing.