The Story Behind The Coop by Rebecca Reid

The Story Behind The Coop

By Rebecca Reid

Inspiration? I see inspiration as a shapeshifter, for each and every one of us it has varying forms, alternating this way and that depending on the moment in which you catch it. For me it is more often than not, transparent. It is there, I feel it, like a nag in the back of my mind but the clarity is not always there. However this is not always the case. Inspiration showed itself to me rather vividly at the beginning.

It had been a rough week. I was under the weather, aching all over, nauseous, your typical winter bug. So there I was, curled up on the bed grabbing five minutes respite, feeling utterly sorry for myself when a thought occurred to me. What if your life was spent feeling this miserable? It was a momentary thought but I indulged it. Sank into it and let it sweep over me for a moment. I felt desperate. That was the opening of ‘The Coop’, that was the inspiration behind whom I refer to as ‘the girl in the room’. She was conceived in that instant and grew from there.

Grow, how does it grow? You may ask. I work from an initial thought, she was it and I just knew there was more. To her? The feeling? It didn’t matter; I just had to write. Like an addiction it irritates me, pulsating beneath the surface, in my every breath. I write as I feel, there is no preplanning, no set plot line. I simply follow a notion or a feeling that needs to be voiced. This mindless writing can lead me into scenarios that then force me to contrive a little to make sure things fit but more often than not, I just follow the words on the page and see where they lead. That is why I see the majority of my inspiration as transparent. Although I may not know it, it is in everything I see and do, the things I watch, the moments I glimpse in others lives.

As for the rest of the story, the tale of Howard and Lilly and their encounters with Mathew Cauldwell – they were just in the right place at the right time, somewhere in my sub-conscious.


Rebecca Reid was withdrawn from school due to illness at fourteen. Being limited in the things she was able to do, she wrote all the time − poetry, stories, feelings, thoughts. At 16 she had her own page in the local weekly newspaper, the Bangor Spectator, in which she covered anything and everything: fashion, beauty, film, teen issues etc. At 17 she became a model, doing catwalk, photographic work, and TV. In 2008 she graduated in English from Queens University, Belfast, and she was awarded an Arts Council writing grant in 2009. Married in 2007, she lives in N. Ireland with her husband and their three daughters. The Coop is her first novel, and part of the Thickets Wood Trilogy.

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