Whilst working on my debut novel Caught Inside, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to get up close and personal with my muse. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever spent so much one-to-one time with anyone before without them driving me completely insane. Then again, perhaps I’m already insane by now and so can’t tell the difference. Ah well. Here are five things I’ve learned about my muse: the good, the bad, and the downright irritating . . .

  1. My muse and I have a lot in common. Like me, he has a passion for sexy young men, fictional as well as in the flesh, is a total geek when it comes to crosswords and TV quiz shows, and has an addiction to Reece’s Pieces. Unlike me, he thrives on drama and emotional conflict. Betrayal, deception, unrequited love . . . he can’t get enough of them and insists on me cramming as much of these as possible into my writing.

  2. My muse has an atrocious sense of timing. He thinks nothing of prodding me awake in the middle of the night with a flash of inspiration, or keeping me tossing and turning into the small hours to hash out plot details. He takes particular pleasure in tormenting me with fresh ideas when I’m ill in bed, too blinded by a migraine to even think about reaching for the laptop to note them down. I know, right? What happened to a cold compress and nice cup of tea?

  3. My Muse won’t take no for an answer. Once he gets a bee in his baseball cap—generally worn backwards because he thinks he’s Mr. Cool—that’s it. No matter how hard I try to ignore him, to push aside the doubts he whispers into my ear, he invariably wins in the end. Sooner or later, I’m booting up the laptop and setting right whatever aspect of the story he’s taken issue with this time.

  4. My muse is my best friend and worst enemy. When the inspiration is flowing and the story coming together, my muse is both cheerleader and commisserater, spurring me on to write to the best of my ability, raising my spirits when the words dry up. However, on those occasions when he abandons me, sometimes for weeks at a time, and always without reason or explanation, I vow never to speak to him again. Yeah, I need more backbone, but then…

  5. My Muse is always right. This is by far the most aggravating trait about him. Often, when he insists I rewrite a scene for the umpteenth time, I accuse him of being a nit-picking perfectionist who will never be satisfied in a hundred edits. Yet, after making the changes—so far I haven’t refused him—I have no choice but to concede that the book is much stronger and that my muse was right all along. Damn him!

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