LOUISE CUSACK

Inspiration from magical places

It’s no secret that fairytales inspire me. They have for all of my reading life, but it never ceases to amaze me how an old fairytale that I’ve adored as a child can come back to me in a different format and engulf me in magic all over again.

Beauty and the Beast is probably my favorite fairytale, because of its darkness, its inherent romance, and the transformational quality of the character development. I was fortunate to have the latest Disney version come out when my children were young, and I can remember watching it again and again, not just because the animated character were cute and endearing, or because I couldn’t help putting myself in Belle’s shoes and wanting to tame the beast, but because the song, Beauty and the Beast made me cry, every time I heard it. Embedded within it is everything I love about that story – the prince trapped inside the body of a beast, confronted with the delicate beauty of Belle, imagining she’d never even want to look at him, let alone fall in love with him. It inspired me to imagine my own stories with tortured heroes and clever, resourceful heroines who must work with magic – dark and light – to find their happily ever after.

That one song inspired more fantasy plotlines and characterization out of me than probably any other I’ve heard.

So you can imagine how overwhelmed I felt when I was watching The Voice Australia and completely out of left field, two of my favorite competitors lined up in a battle to sing Beauty and the Beast together. It was an inspired move by their coach Ricky Martin (who I adore) and the result is stunning:

I’ve had the song in my mind ever since, playing on a loop, happily inspiring more story ideas, and who would have imagined I’d find inspiration to write fantasy novels while watching a singing competition!

If you’ve ever had inspiration delivered unexpectedly please do share in the comments below. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.