Sunday, 6 September 2015

Once upon a time...

...I dreamed of a cottage by the sea. The sea feeds my imagination like nothing else, it fills me with energy, I even sleep better when I've been out on the beach. But our new house is tucked away by a big river, a few miles inland. Then I inherited some money, and if my son and I put our little funds together we could - almost - afford the shabbiest, tiniest, most story-book wreck of a cottage. It's pretty run down - my son is unimpressed by the rather basic kitchen and plumbing arrangements - but I love it. I love it so much a book is writing itself out of the house, even before we get the keys. Now we're balancing paperwork from the bank, the solicitors, the mortgage (we didn't quite have enough) all to buy a two-up, two-down writing retreat a few yards from the quayside at Appledore. You can hear the sea through the cracked single glazed windows. Sea breezes rocket down the open chimneys and fill the air with soot. The only toilet is outside in the yard. I love it.

It's been a strange two years. My first book was published in the same week my husband got the news that he had a virulent cancer and it had already started to spread. His reaction was that he wanted to move from my lovely house to this new town, which has been a sensible and grown up thing to do. But my imagination, somehow, didn't get packed. Writing books I started in 'the big house' was fine, but I was starting to worry that new ideas were just not coming. Well, that's all changed. Not only do I have my creative non-fiction project to work on, I am starting a new Sci-Fi book and writing this 'house' book. I'm looking forward to working on it in the house.

The place is very small, and completely cluttered, and we're all excited about ripping out carpets, rubbing down window frames and rewiring so it can at least be warm. Warm and dry. And sparsely furnished with the pieces that didn't fit in the new house that I miss. The aim is to create a writing retreat to give me somewhere to de-stress, and perhaps let it out to fellow creatives in time. the whole loft is a big studio space, lit by two roof windows, one facing south and one north, looking over the roofs to the estuary beyond. Lovely. It's a bit of a shame you can only get there climbing up a ladder like a bookcase. Maybe we'll have enough money after the rewire for some proper stairs.

Book 2 has come out in the states, and I'm thrilled about it. It even looks gorgeous, I love the cover.