Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Saturday, 3 September 2016

A WOMAN FOR ALL SEASONS

So, it's now officially autumn. I don't know about anyone else but I feel a bit shortchanged over summer this year ... we hardly had one, did we? A few 'phew' days in August and that was about it and I'm talking from the so-called English Riviera. Now, as a writer of short stories I'm well used to writing Christmas stories, my head full of snow and ice and frost, and present-wrapping, and Christmas parties, while sitting in crops and sandals and a strappy tee-shirt, sweltering at the keyboard (those few, short, August days I wrote about a moment ago!). The reverse of the coin is that when I'm wrapped in a fleece, my feet in Uggs, my hands in fingerless mitts, and the heating up high, it's time for me to write about sun and sand and sangria and sitting in airports excitedly waiting for flights to the South of France. Do I ever write about Spring? Or Autumn? Well, not often if truth be told although I have written a few stories set around Mothers' Day which is always in Spring, and I've a story due to come out in Woman's Weekly called 'Autumn Leaves', but I doubt that would have been written had it not been a writing group challenge and I was having a writers' block moment and glad of the inspiration. I've had six novels published by Choc Lit now and as we all well know most novels span quite a period of time and we must be aware of the changing seasons and write accordingly. But oh, isn't it so much easier to write about summer in the UK - possibly because it is so fleeting and therefore more special and the wonderful days more memorable - and have our characters falling in and out of love over a bbq or somesuch, than it is to mention a bit of apple blossom and a few spring lambs. And Christmas with all the feasts we prepare for loved ones, and that special gift we agonise over, and the curling up with hot chocolate and a good book by roaring log fires is more evocative than the shortening days and the grey skies and the need to wear a cardigan to put out the rubbish, I always find. This summer I went into my lovely, local, independent bookshop, The Torbay Bookshop, and there was a whole table devoted to summer reads. Almost all were in the comedy romance genre, and all set by the seaside. And I asked myself, 'Why the heck haven't you written one, then, seeing as you've lived all your life by the sea?' I've missed a trick, haven't I? Time to rectify, methinks. One of the books I saw that day is by Marcia Willett, who lives in Devon and has written more than a few summer seaside-set novels.
Summer on the River is set in Dartmouth around the time of the Royal Regatta, an event I've visited often. What was I thinking not using something like this around which to base a novel? In the very same bookshop last year the books on special display just before Christmas were all Christmas-based stories, again most of them in the comedy romance genre, although not all. Some writers - the more canny ones, the undoubtedly very hard-working ones with two or more novels published each year - write a Christmas based novel every year. Trisha Ashley has written a few, with a new one due out shortly, but this is my favourite of Trisha's covers.
So, it's autumn. I fancy escaping the grey drizzle and the leaden skies and winds that is often autumn and writing about the glimmer of early sunshine and awakening love and..... well, I'll shut up now and get on with it!

4 comments:

  1. I would love to read a novel set in Torbay, Linda. I can almost hear the waves lapping on to the shore...it must be time to book my next holiday! Thanks for making me think about the seasons - as a reader and a writer. Now where's my hot water bottle?

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    1. Thanks for popping by, Guernsey Girl. My historicals are set here but I've a fancy to do something lighter, summery, Christmassey even .... better get on with it!

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  2. I actually really like writing about spring, Linda. Maybe that comes from being in Scotland and having to wait so long for spring to arrive ... In fact, I've had to stop myself starting every single book just as spring is showing its face. Interesting how much more saleable (sp?) summer and Christmas are!

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    1. Goodness yes, the summer and Christmas reads fly off the shelves. And anything with 'chocolate' or 'cake' in the title which is odd to me as I'm not a fan of either - probably why I'm not making shedloads writing those themes!

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