Man watching…

Sometimes you catch sight of something,and you just know that at some point, maybe weeks, months or even years down the line you are going to write about it. I don’t know how many years ago… maybe fourteen or fifteen, we had taken the children to one of those play areas which is like a big, huge cage with different levels and lots of soft things to climb over, walkways to climb through, slides, ropes, foam balls to fall into, things to squeeze between… it was great. You paid a certain price for the kids to go in and then you went upstairs where there was a café with a huge window so you could see the kids safely whizzing around having a great time and using lots of energy. They were quite safe and there were attendants, young people who were there to make sure no-one got stuck/lost/frightened.

We were on holiday and the weather wasn’t that nice so we took the kids to this soft play adventure place, which may have been called Paradise island. We were sitting with coffee, reading the papers and waving at the children as they raced past, and I noticed among all the other parents who doing as we were a man sitting on his own. He looked to be in his fifties or maybe even sixties, a granddad that was certain. He had his coffee, and he had his newspaper, which he was reading with that patient look people have when waiting for their children or grandchildren.

He attracted my attention for some reason, and even though it is so many years ago I can still remember him vividly. He was wearing a black leather jacket, quite worn, but obviously good quality and it must have been expensive when he bought it new. He was wearing dark trousers and black, very polished shoes. To complete his outfit he was wearing a brilliant white t-shirt. He hd grey curly hair brushed back, with some sort of product on it so it was neat and kempt, the curls subdued to waves. He had a square, rather battered face, quite red as if maybe he was hard living man, and his nose had obviously been damaged at some point, maybe broken. He had a firm, unsmiling mouth, and when he occasionally looked up from his paper, he scanned the café as if checking everyone there. He looked a hard man, a tough man, and strong even though he was getting on in years. He was reading The Times with concentration, and when he did glance around, his eyes were cold, and seemed to miss nothing.

One day, he will crop up in one of my books… one day!

You never know where it will lead

I have published six novels through Kindle Direct Publishing, and many people have been kind enough to comment on them. I have had quite a few requests to write sequels, people want to know what happens to characters at the end of the story, what happens to them after the last page. In my five first books, the last page really was the last page for the reader… but not for my characters because they continued their stories in my imagination, and quite often I continued to write the different things that happened to them.

A novel is a complete thing, and I like to finish with a conclusion to the events which have been unravelling; there is usually some puzzle explained, some truth revealed, maybe  some exciting twist to the plot – although I am always really careful to keep these twists and surprises within the context of what has already happened, and to be believable; I seed the novel with hints and clues, so if ever a reader went through my book for a second time they would realise that the ending was well-signalled, but I hope signalled subtly enough for it to be unexpected.

So why do I keep writing after the end… I guess it is winding down, like a runner or swimmer might after a race, run a slow couple of laps, or swim a lazy couple of lengths, to wind down. However, with writing the story is there, in a physical form, and sometimes things I have written for one set of characters, can be applied to another character in a new book. So for example, in the book I am writing, Magick,  now which is my first ever sequel, there is an incident which happens between two people who are beginning a new relationship… I actually wrote a very similar incident happening between two other characters who had got together at the end of a different book.  had written a private ‘wind down’ so although the readers of that book were left wondering how the new relationship might develop, and how their lives together as a couple might pan out, I wrote it for my personal interest. Now I am using some of those ‘wind-downs’ in Magick… That’s the thing with creativity, you never know where it will lead!!

If you are interested in reading my novels you will find them from the link below. I really welcome any comments about my stories!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois%20elsden&sprefix=lois+%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Alois%20elsden

 

 

Growing

I don’t apply myself enough to gardening, and i confess, I really don’t like going out doing chores in bad weather. However i really do like looking round vegetable gardens; it isn’t just the promise of a delicious harvest, but it’s the interesting and different crops which are grown. There is also the symmetry of a well-kept, lovingly tended vegetable garden, the nice straight rows, the uniformity of the produce and the different colours against each other, whether of the leaves,or the fruit, or the flowers.

This vegetable garden is in one of my favourite places, Benvarden Garden in Count Antrim, Northern Ireland; we haven’t visited for a while, but I have plenty of memories of the dozen or so times I have been there.  If you are ever in the area, do visit and look, not just at the  vegetables, but at the rose garden, the elegant iron bridge, the dark pools, and maybe take a cup of tea and a piece of cake in the stable tea rooms!

Last lap round Camp NaNo

I decided to go on a virtual writer’s retreat, committing myself to writing 50,000 words in April. It’s part of the national Novel Writing Month challenge which takes place in November, but they run Camp NaNo in April, to keep people motivated. I didn’t realise but I could have challenged myself to write only 30,000 words in the thirty days of April… I guess as usual I didn’t read the small print!

April has been a lovely month as it has been Easer when we have our annual family holiday – it was a wonderful holiday, I love being with my cousins and their children and grandchildren and we were in beautiful Norfolk… but I didn’t manage to do much writing! So I had a huge catch-up when I got home.

I have I used Camp NaNo to get my teeth into my new story, Magick, a sequel to Radwinter… I’ve never written a sequel before so it has been a new challenge. All is going well but it’s going to be up to the wire! The last day of April and I still have a couple of thousand words to go… I’m sure I can do it.. I’m sure I can!

Louche

The other night we went to a concert given by Michael Nyman; I am a very big fan, my husband less so. However, when he saw the music played live, or rather listened to it, he was really brought round and thoroughly enjoyed it. My husband has played in all sorts of bands over the years, groups, orchestras,pit bands, trios, jazz groups… everything you could imagine; one of the happiest times of his musical life was when he was involved in brass bands as a percussionist. So he listened with aprticualr interest to the brass instruments on stage and he remarked how wonderful the trumpet player was, saying he was very louche.

Louche is defined as dubious, shady, seedy,  but I think it could also be blousy and overblown, rakish, perhaps even relaxed and almost intoxicated in its disreputable way. Certainly he meant it in a complimentary way,a s giving the music a certain’feel’. Louche comes from the French to mean squint-eyed or cross-eyed… I wonder how it managed to get its very different English meaning?

Today in my French conversation class we played Kim’s game; a variety of random objects a re revealed on a tray and then covered and the idea is to remember them all. One of the items was a ladle, and the French for ladle is… louche!

Rye

We visited Rye last autumn a pretty little town on the south coast. It is ideal for a tourist, so many interesting little streets, fascinating old buildings, bags of history, curious shops, wonderful restaurants… and a castle! Except it is only part of a castle, it’s the Ypres Tower. Ypres is in Belgium and most famous, sadly for being where many soldiers lost their lives in the trench warfare of the first World War.

There is no precise date for when the tower was built but it is believed  to have been constructed in the early 14th century; it was probably part of Rye’s defences and is definitely  the second oldest building in Rye which the ordinary public can visit. In case you ae wondering the oldest building is St Mary’s church.) It was built at the behest of Henry III, and it is obvious from its defensive position that the danger was perceived to come from across the English Channel, from France. It was part of a defence system which along with Winchelsea (a delightful little town!) and the so-called cinque ports of Hastings, New Romney, Hythe, Dover and Sandwich stood ready and prepared for any attack from mainland Europe.

 

 

 

 

Candles in the Donkey Field

I wrote last week about a lovely little meadow, the Donkey Field or Bluebell Field, in our village which from late January onwards is just a delightful carpet of spring flowers. There are also some magnificent trees, which please the eye through every season. Now it is spring and they are bursting into leaf; because there are different specimens there is a continual show of new green from late winter to early summer. From time to time through age or weather there are casualties, and a little while ago a magnificent chestnut had to be felled as it was rotting from the inside. Fortunately a new little tree was planted and this spring it’s showing off its candles – the long white blossom spikes which will develop into horse chestnuts, ‘conker’ for fun and games in the playground.