09 July 2013

Words and Pictures

At the moment we have a friend from England staying with us. This is his first visit to New Zealand, and we are enjoying the opportunity of showing him the local sights as well as places further afield we love to visit. One of the great things about doing this is that it makes you look at familiar places as if you’ve never seen them before.

Last week we spent a few glorious days in Sydney, and it was great to look at this city we love as if it was our first visit.

We took lots of photos – although we already have plenty! 

There is a saying that a picture paints a thousand words, but words can also paint magical pictures.

About half of Driftwood is set in Sydney and while I haven’t experienced any of Juliet’s problems or had someone try to kill me, there are a number of elements and snatches of scenes included in the book that are places I’ve visited or things I’ve seen. When I read those scenes it brings back the incident I witnessed, or alternatively, when I visit a place I’ve included in Driftwood it reminds me how I used it in Juliet’s story.

Alex takes Juliet to dinner in Darling Harbour – this is a favourite spot of mine and while the restaurant they visited doesn’t exist, there are heaps of good places to eat in Darling Harbour.

In another scene Juliet watches a street entertainer in Circular Quay – I’ve since cut back this description, but the little I’ve left reminds me of his act and I can still see him clearly.

One of the chapters ends with Juliet watching a bride and groom in the gardens close to the Opera House. I watched the couple I describe posing for their wedding photographs by the harbour, and I sometimes wonder where they are now, and hope they are as happy as they were that day.

The New Zealand sections of Driftwood are set in Auckland, Christchurch and the Tasman area at the top of the South Island.

Juliet’s view from her home of the Auckland Harbour is the one we had at the time I was writing the book. The scenes set in Christchurch are ones I remember vividly, and with great sadness, as some of the places were badly damaged in the earthquake in 2010 and the severe aftershock in February 2011.

The Nelson and Abel Tasman areas of the South Island are outstandingly beautiful and we’ve spent many happy holidays exploring the beaches and walking the tracks through the National Park.

If you’re interested in seeing some of the places, I’ve been working on a board using photographs I’ve taken during visits, and I’ll be adding more images over the coming weeks.


  1. Sounds like a great place to visit. Loved your behind the scenes info on Driftwood and your photos. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you for your lovely comments. I always enjoy hearing a little about the background of scenes in books or films.