I’ve written previously on how folksongs inspired After the Ruin. There are a couple of other things as well.
Firstly, a portrait of an unknown young man by Titian. It hangs now in the National Gallery in London, and I saw it first in the Renaissance Faces exhibition. I can’t post a copy of the picture due to copyright restrictions but here’s the link. At that time I’d completed a draft of a manuscript that was nothing like the final version of the book but did contain the seed of it within it. That portrait stopped me in my tracks, and from that moment on became the face of Assiolo. He’s described pretty well as he appears in the painting in the short story, An End and a Beginning, and again in After the Ruin itself. Were the sitter known I’d never have dared borrow his face for the character but, as he isn’t, I could project anything I wanted onto him. I don’t always get a chance to go and see it when I’m in London but whenever I can, I do.
Secondly, a poem The Images of Death by Michael Roberts. This was one of my set texts for an English Literature exam at high school. Somehow, even encountering it under such circumstances failed to spoil it for me. It runs as subtext throughout almost everything I’ve written and is rather more obviously connected to Te-Meriku. I can’t quote it because it’s still in copyright but you can read it here on the Poetry Foundation’s site.