I’m currently writing my third novel, and have two others brewing in the furthest reaches of my mind…biding their time until I have time…time to write, time to be, time to listen to the needs of my characters.
When I finished Mosaic, I figured it would be the only novel I’d ever write, and I said to more than one person “I only have one novel in me” ~ I write non-fiction….that was, until March 23rd, as I was making dinner.
The radio was on softly in the background and I heard the name Bluey. It reminded me of an amazing friend I had. I met Bluey when I was ten….skiving from a school sports day. He was in his 50s, and his truck had broken down by the side of the road. The boys I was bunking off school with started talking to him about trucks…but somehow they ended up heading down to the river and I stayed behind and talked to Bluey. We talked for hours about all things esoteric, and he read my palm. We swapped addresses, and became dear friends.
So when I heard the name Bluey on the radio, I thought about him, and then I wondered if any women were ever called Bluey? I thought about it as a character name, and within half an hour I had the story for Bluey’s Café. That book was written in five days (if only covers got to be painted that quickly!), and it is such a pleasure to have the time to sit with the characters and fine-tune the writing.
And then I thought…I couldn’t have any more novels in me, and no sooner did that thought occur to me than characters, locations and storylines were nipping at my thoughts. And now…now I can’t imagine not writing novels for the rest of my life! Funny that. But of course, it could all change tomorrow.
I come to the keyboard hours before my family wakes up…and I meet the page. I step back into the world of my characters. But the truth is they’re with me all the time, particularly in the shower (lost of ideas and inspiration in that ten minutes of hot, steamy bliss each morning), and when I’m cooking a tasty meal. Perhaps it’s because they’re both such sensual experiences, and to write you need to get out of your head and feel. The scent of basil leaves ripped into my tomato salad, or the taste of stem ginger in the heart of a chocolate cupcake; rose and geranium soap on my skin ~ these are the simple pleasures which ignite the writing brain.
The characters carry on conversations, share their feelings with each other, and I… I eavesdrop. Many of their conversations and anxieties and pleasures may not make it into the book, but it gives me a strong sense of who they are.