Friday, February 28, 2014

A Writing Change is as Good as a Rest...

A change of location is a good thing when you're writing. It can inspire you to craft, create and encounter new possibilities within your writing.

When I wrote my most recent novel, ‘Beneath a Sicilian Sun’,  I wasn't in Sicily where the majority of the novel takes place, but in Lanzarote which is one of the Canary Islands.

Actually, I'd started writing the novel the previous year while holidaying in Tenerife, another Canary Island. Did I tell you I love to go to the Canary Isles?

Anyhow, the settings in both locations were great. I'd get up in the morning in Tenerife, leaving my husband snoozing away in our hotel room and sit on a lounger near the poolside with a cool drink, my body slathered in sun protection lotion and a pair of shades slapped on my forehead, in case the sun came on too strong. When it rose high in the sky, so did I, and I'd head indoors having written about a thousand words or more.  I did that most days, so had quite a few thousand words under my belt and a good plot underway by the time I arrived back to a snowy white Wales that January.

I set that novel to one side for a time but then got inspired to pick up a pen and write again the following year.  This time it was an April time in Lanzarote and my husband and myself were sharing a villa with our grown children and their partners.  They all loved a good lie-in in the mornings, so I’d get up early and take my leather bound writing journal, pen and cup of coffee to sit at a table and umbrella near the poolside.  I’d get around an hour or more precious writing time to myself, so it all built up. 

We arrived back to a snowy Wales
Most of the book was written in Wales when the weather wasn’t so hot.  Where rain clouds are more prevalent than blue skies.  Yet, being previously in such warm surroundings gave me a feel for how Sicily would be under the sun.

Hearing people speaking in Spanish in the Canaries gave me an impression how it might have felt for Joanne, my heroine in the novel, when she heard people jabbering in a foreign tongue around her in Sicily.  In one scene, she feels like a round peg in a square hole and wonders why she bothers to stay there.

The villa in my novel seems similar to the one Dante lived in.  It even had its own pool and tiled floors.  Although as a multi millionaire, ours could have fitted into a corner of his no doubt.    A coincidence perhaps?  Or just my subconscious taking over and helping to fill in the dots?  That Sicilian villa though is the setting for a crucial life changing scene in the book and propels the reader into the hope that maybe true love will eventually conquer all.

When I began writing ‘Beneath a Sicilian Sun’ I hadn’t written a novel for a few years and wondered if I ever would again.  To be honest, I doubted it.  Would I have the patience to sit down and discipline myself? Not only that, risk submitting a novel anywhere again?  After all, rejection is never easy for any writer least of all when you fear you've lost your mo jo.  But when I proved to myself I could finish it, I also went on to complete another couple of half written novels and have since written a brand new one.  So I know I am capable and back in the groove.  I got kick started again by a Facebook writing group called ‘Merthyr Writes’ that a very good online friend suggested I start up.  The feedback and positive encouragement from members helped to inspire me to begin my writing career again. 

‘Beneath a Sicilian Sun’ is the novel that will hopefully re-launch my writing career.  I’m really grateful to this book and the fact I spent those holidays beneath a hot sun getting up to write early in the mornings, even if it didn’t happen to be Sicily, it certainly helped that the sun shone…

** Beneath a Sicilian Sun is due for release 14th April 2014 - Taliesin Publishing

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