I remember as a child being bored… there were a lot fewer options to be entertained then, and often when waiting for something, a journey to end, a queue to end, a visit to an elderly relation to end, the only thing to do was to think about stuff… I also didn’t need much sleep as a child, but bedtimes were strict and I would be in bed and awake for what seemed like hours despite my parents’ best attempts – they took me for long walks, read to me, let me read, let me listen to the radio, but night after night, I would lie wide awake in the dark… thinking about stuff.
I did think about all sorts of stuff, considering my age I thought a lot about things like the universe, religion, whether there were really fairies and magic (much as I wanted there to be, I concluded that no, they didn’t exist, any more than God and angels did…)
However, the main stuff I thought about were the stories running in my head, even from being small I had stories there – a vivid imagination to say the least! Because of this, I did have something to do when I was bored, I could think about things and think about my stories. This happens today; when I’m doing something boring, washing up, driving along motorways, sitting on a train in the dark with my book finished and nothing to write on, then I think about my stories.
So today, as I was driving to my writing group, behind a ponderous lorry, my mind drifted to a story in my head – not actually the latest Radwinter story I am in the middle of writing, or the autobiographical work I am doing for the National Novel Writing Month (an online challenge to write 50,000 in November) but I was following the storyline of some of my characters from my most recently published book, Lucky Portbraddon.
When a novel is finished and published, the characters continue their lives in my head for a while; sometimes the story-line reappears in a new novel with different characters in a different situation, sometime they just lie dormant, and once, with the Radwinters, they continued not only into a sequel but into a third, fourth and now three-quarter written fifth volume!
So I was driving along behind the lorry, half my mind concentrating on driving safely, the other half on Alex Portbraddon and his son, Noah, and a friend Ismène Veraney, with whom they are both half in love…
… and then I realised I had driven right past the turning I was supposed to take!!! Annoyed with myself, I abandoned the Portbraddons, turned off, turned round and headed back to the writing group, this time concentrating on driving and getting there!