20 September 2013

Photos, Scenes and Memories

There’s nothing quite like pulling out a shoebox of photos or flicking through the family albums to bring back all sorts of memories. Reading through my writing is also a springboard for memories. 

None of the characters in my novels are me, but some of the things they see or places they visit obviously comes from my experiences. It isn’t always the major turning point scenes either that elicit memories. Here are a few from Lies of the Dead.

There’s a short lunchtime scene I wrote from exactly the position Andi sat to eat her lunch. 

By the time she’d chosen a sandwich and paid for it the bench was empty and the man had disappeared.

She walked to the open area at the other end of the office blocks. The seats surrounding the small amphitheatre-like circle were all taken as people made the most of the sunshine, but the steps were deep enough to sit on comfortably for a short while.

She looked around as she ate, but no one resembled the man who had followed her. 

Tom and Andi’s cliff walks from the fictional village of Poldrayth all remind me of trips to Cornwall, walking along the cliffs and wandering around the ruins of the pumphouse. The last time I visited, the dark and light purple heather was a stunning contrast to the yellow gorse and I enjoyed amazing views of the jade green sea frothing around the rocks at the foot of steep cliffs. I had to make a few changes when I realised that for the time of year in the book, the gorse would be in flower but not the heather. Reality rears its head!

Anyone who has visited Bristol, or knows the city, will be familiar with the Clifton Suspension Bridge and therefore The Downs (the rock slide is also mentioned in the link). 

She ran around the paths avoiding the families with prams and people ambling along, and as some sort of punishment she made herself run up the hill to the observatory. She stopped and looked at the shiny rocks on the steep side of the hill. They hadn’t been here for years, but she remembered Sophie and Kristen’s happy shouts as they slid down the rocks. 

Lives Interrupted is set in London, and Dru and Kate’s walk along the embankment looking at the Sphinx and other memorials reminds me of my visits to London. I’ve always loved the theatre, and when living in England I sometimes treated myself to a visit to one of the London shows and always combined it with some tourist activities. Kate wasn't a theatre-lover so I had to forgo those visits for the book!

I’ve mentioned some of the inspirations for Driftwood in a previous post.

These memories were prompted while I was looking for a passage to read at an event last week. It also prompted memories of the initial writing and then editing, but that’s another story altogether!

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