My novel begins with a miller called Caliper, waiting in his windmill for an evening wind he knows will rip his home and life apart.
I heard about a community in North West Scotland. The community was off grid; if you wanted electricity you made it yourself. One man’s home had windmills fitted to the roof. Most days he was careful with light, but if the wind blew fiercely he could crank everything up. Stormy nights would see his whole house shaking, blazing with light.
Caliper’s windmill burst into life when I heard this story. I hope the house owner still enjoys his wind lit nights, but I wanted to make Caliper’s life harder, so I asked a few simple questions. ‘What if he was breaking the law?’ Why would there be laws against creating more electricity than you needed, why would light be illegal? Answering those questions gave life to the world I wanted to create, not just giving it an arresting opening, but providing depth and texture to the setting.
Telling a story needs more than characters moving from spot to spot, they need motivation and an environment. Writing is a constant search for concepts, and even the idea of a spectacle can help the writer ask the right questions, nudging me to ask questions about society
Ripping your home apart isn’t a typical household chore, so I needed to ask myself why Caliper would do this. Coming up with a motivation behind the action proved difficult, taking several re-writes, but I managed to link his desires with something that’s occupied myself for many years. Want more details? They’re in the novel.