Quite a few of my novels are inspired by real places. Usually that inspiration (Memory Seed for instance) is one of environment, which then becomes mutated in my imagination, but sometimes places I know appear in my fiction exactly as they are. One such is the pine mound of Woodland Revolution. When I was putting the work together, I happened to be driving past a local Shropshire landmark, quite close in fact to the spot where, a few years previously, I’d seen the roadkill fox which inspired Woodland Revolution.
Shropshire has a lot of sandstone. This stone, in drumlins forged by Ice Age glaciers in my home county, leads to quite a limited, even sparse environment: gorse, heathers, silver birch and pine. The combination is distinctive, for example as pictured above near Harmer Hill in north Shropshire.
This was the environment I imagined both for the outcrop set with gnarly, dark green pines and for Professor Owl – the red hill with the single, enormous pine, which is symbolic of the axis of the world…
Environment channels our thought in very many ways. We are scions of what lies around us, whether we know it or not.