I though we could open with a bit of chat about how you find your stories. Do you make up your own? Are you a collector or myths and legends? Does any particular culture call to you? Do you prefer stories which are completely fictitious or do you like to base things in fact?
This one is open to the non-storytellers too, or to those who are storytellers but prefer the written word. How do you start the process of creating a story?
My personal preference is for ghost stories, ideally ghost stories that I can link with actual historical events. I've sought out ghost stories and tales of the Wee Folk for as long as I can remember. When dealing with children, I like to use traditional Scottish fairy stories - trust me, you don't want your child telling you there are fairies at the bottom of the garden if you know the tales I learned when I was little!
Most of my stories retain the basic structure of the stories I remember from childhood, but I add my own touches to personalise it. The fairies often acquire little chants that get repeated throughout the story, which I find to be a good way of encouraging audience participation. I mess around with stories in my head until I find the right rhythm for certain sections, and I'll write down any nice alliteration or onomatopoeia that I want to keep. Then I just hope that I recall these things next time I actually tell the story!
How about you?