It’s hot. Thirty degrees out there. Where am I? Not basking in the sunshine. Oh, no. I’m at my desk in my study, grinding my teeth at the antics of my protagonist, who of course, I love madly.
He’s the hero of a series of books about the progress of a hapless actor, who in my last novel JONTY’S WIN managed to acquire a huge amount of cash, through a lottery win. Now, when you’ve been a jobbing thespian, touring the byways of Devon, in search of a village hall or community centre willing to take your latest theatrical endeavour, a financial windfall like that can throw you right off track.
Since I began writing novels five years ago, my characters have become so real that I sometimes have to pinch myself. Will Jonty Greer walk through the door any moment in a state of total panic and ask for a cuppa and a Valium? Will lovely Edward D’Amato, his faded, elderly actor compatriot, slide between the french doors, holding a bunch of white roses, freshly picked from the rose garden? ( I have a yard that measures 4×4 – no rose garden.) Can I expect tough, hard-nosed-with-a-heart-of-gold Caroline Fenton, actress and waitress (the two often go together) with designs on Jonty’s millions, sashay into my kitchen, looking for a glass of red, or two? That’s what immersing yourself in writing a book can do. Lots of new and wildly interesting people invading your life, at least you hope they are, otherwise no one will want to read about them. It’s a kind of magic.
Books always worked magic for me. How wonderful, the smell of my local library! Even the shushing of the librarian when I chewed my gum too loudly and tapped my foot in delight at discovering another naughty Emile Zola novel, (I was fourteen at the time and his books were a bit forbidden by the nuns, who taught me) couldn’t stop me getting hooked on books.
Then the expected happened. Marriage and kids and all that. I kept reading, though kid’s books were top of the list for while, and that was okay. When my four little dears finally escaped my clutches and ran boldly into adulthood, there was space again, to read, write, make theatre and film. Oh joy! My own stuff, at last.
Writers are a weird lot. We work in isolation but the outcome of all those alone hours, are audiences who will take the time, in this mad world, to snuggle down on a deck chair under an umberella and read your book. What a huge privilege that is!
You can find the Jonty books at Amazon and other online bookstores. Also at www.feedaread.com