A frosty morning here about 30 minutes’ drive north of central London!
At least it isn’t raining! 🙂
As you may know, the third anniversary of my mom’s death was Friday, so it was not a great day for me. We headed off, however, to visit for the weekend with friends near Bristol. They are the same couple who spent two weeks with us in America in August and September.
On Saturday morning, they suggested we all head to Gloucester Quays, which is about 20 minutes’ drive from their house. It is a newish – including partially indoor – outlets shopping area in Gloucester, on the riverfront. The area around it has also been rejuvenated with new stores, cafes, and restaurants, and so on…
The weather started off fine:
We stopped in at the Mariners’ Chapel, which is what you think it is…
…a small church dedicated to those who work at sea. Gloucester is on the River Severn.
Boats docked give an author like me “ideas”:
It’s October. And it’s England. Clouds rolled in and by afternoon it was raining – but by then we were inside the Quays outlets.
Before that, at the river’s edge, a local approached me. I suspect he thought I’d toss him some bread or something. They must be fed by passersby… and expect it.
Around a corner, is a pub. Which is unsurprising given it’s England. The Lord High Constable of England:
The Quays indoor outlets shopping area is just ahead under that archway. It proved perfect for what became a rainy, English day:
A cappuccino and a croissant. Also perfect for a late morning. They are also perennially perfect to get you thinking:
As a writer, unsurprisingly I think – a lot. Talking later with one of our friends about my books, and asked by him how things are going with the new one, of course I replied, “Fine” – as one always does. Because it’s all too complicated even to begin to explain details; and, let’s be honest, most people – even friends – don’t really care. (Relatedly, Laura Janis Thompson has a post here from the other day on writers’ “sleepless nights.” Most writers, I suspect, can well relate. I can.)
Maybe of more interest – to him, and perhaps you – I told him as well that I feel I have a much better sense now of who I am as a writer and, most importantly, who my audience may be. Back in 2012-2013, I was writing my first book, Passports, largely in the dark. Without much idea about who might read it, I took a leap of faith: I enjoyed a type of romantic/travel/international story and assumed a few other people out there might too.
Within months after it appeared, I began to hear from some readers, and by now I have a much better idea who my readers actually are. They sure do not include my friend there. Although a good friend, he has never said he has more than glanced briefly at any of my books, and I accept that: I know they just aren’t his taste.
He reminded me once more he loves fantasy and Game of Thrones and horror, etc. As we talked I repeated that I am not interested in writing people wearing bear skins running around waving magical swords and seeking rings of supernatural power; I prefer to invent “fashionable” and “real” people, including those in 18th Century drawing rooms. He replied that he reads – as I know many others do – seeking escape from reality. I came back by saying while I understand that, I prefer life consequences that I believe make for true story suspense – because nothing is more suspenseful than irreparable consequences. Fantasy, I noted, is just that: there is always some tiny chance, for instance, a beloved dead character may somehow be revived… with a writer deciding sneakily 10 chapters later to concoct, say, an elixir of Auguranahadragrahannnnnnnn… or some such. That may be an escape from reality, but I can’t do that: when one of my characters faces a guillotine, uh, well, that’ll be that…
Oh, and speaking of consequences, albeit not exactly irreparable, I know. Among my outlets purchases, at White Stuff, I took a male fashion plunge… and perhaps a risk. I bought a waistcoat:
Just making an attempt to be “hip.”
Have a good Monday, wherever you are. 🙂