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
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!