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.