Friday, 17 May 2013

Location, location and characters

You may remember me telling you how we came to find the location for The Sea Garden. If you want to refresh your memory, click here. All the photographs below (apart from the blog dog) were taken while Marcia was researching in the area and I was just sitting there enjoying this extraordinarily atmospheric place where the light conditions change minute by minute, the tide surges in and out and, of course, weather and time of day all combine to ensure that it is never the same twice. Most do not have a caption as I think these speak for themselves. I suspect I have allowed myself to get carried away. You could just look the other way.

So we had a location but no characters other than the fact that Marcia was sure this would be a book in which Cass and Kate would find their lifelong relationship at risk when it looked as though the marriage between Cass’s daughter, Gemma, and Kate’s son, Guy, was on the rocks. That, however was not the main thrust of this book although at that stage Marcia had no idea what was.

Then one character stepped out of the shadows. A girl, really a young woman, on a train from Bristol to London and almost beside herself with joy. Who? Why Bristol to London? Why joyful? What has this to do with a book that is to be set on the banks of the River Tamar? Well, we lived with those questions for a week or so as we talked through all the options. As always, this became easier (or at least clearer) when the girl had a name: Joss. Marcia feels that names are so important: how can you give a baby a name before it is born, before you know what he or she is like? Perhaps this is why so many children end up with nicknames – their given names are all wrong. It’s the same with dogs – Kit was always the member of the Chadwick family to name the dogs at the Keep and this aspect of her character she shares with Marcia (or should that be the other way around?).

We are now back in that sort of situation as Marcia begins to fumble towards the next novel whilst trying to keep the characters of the last one in her head in case her editor wants some changes made. Today, however, it is not a location but no characters nor all the main characters and no location (and that has happened quite often) but an odd combination of the two: fleeting glimpses of shadowing people standing in the wings, odd senses of resonance when in certain places but nothing definite at all. We shall have to wait and see and, for now, spend time pottering around a wide area of moorland and coastal Devon hoping that as we do so everything will fall into place. They always have in the past so no reason why they shouldn’t again.

This is one of the racing gigs famous in the west country.

Marcia showing berries from the spindle tree

"Time for bed," said Zebedee and it was.

Meanwhile I am driving myself mad trying to sort out some of the thousands of photographs that I have on my computer or waiting to be scanned in and making some sense of them on my own web site. At the moment I am trying to add at least six different species of bird each week. At the same time, I am working on a few video projects. (Yes, quite right: those whom the gods wish to destroy they first send mad) Putting video on this blog makes it rather clunky and some people I know can’t actually see them because not all devices support that format. So, I have put a couple of snippets up on YouTube which you can look at or not as the mood takes you. Here are the links.

Then, of course, there is the blog dog of the week: Bosca by name.