Photo: Bruno Cervera // Unsplash
During a recent Zoom class (yes, I've joined the dark side), one of my students asked what inspires and motivates me. She's trying to finish her first book and knew I'd just finished my 16th.
"How do you do it?" she wanted to know. "Where do you find daily inspiration?"
"Walking!" I told her, without hesitation.
I have always been an avid walker but, since getting our frisky Blue Heeler, Kasper, three years ago, it's become a mandatory daily event. Some time between one and three every single afternoon, Kaspie appears at my desk, leash (shoe, sock…) in his mouth, eyes piercing, ears high. And he won't take no for an answer.
"Come on, woman," that look says. "It's time for walkies."
And off we set, for a fast-paced, 40-minute adventure, but it's always my mind that gets the best work-out.
Walking is the perfect way for me to gather fresh ideas, dialogue, plot points and character development. Without fail, I come back from these walks re-energised and inspired. It works every single time.
Until lately, that is.
You see, thanks to COVID-19, the world has changed and people have been stuck in their small neighbourhoods, and suddenly I have found a lovely, well-meaning neighbour who wants to walk with me. And at first I was delighted. It's such a fun way to catch up— chatting, gossiping, venting about the hubby and kids.
But it's been atrocious for my writing.
In the past, I returned from a walk so inspired, I barely had time to remove Kasper's leash before flying to the keyboard to tap away like a lunatic, getting all these exciting ideas down.
Since my friend started joining me, we inevitably stop for a (socially distanced) cup of tea, and so the chatter continues, and before I know it, another hour has passed and no writing has been done, let alone fresh ideas gleaned. By the time she leaves and I sit at my desk... nothing.
It's been great for my friendship—really, I adore this neighbour and enjoy our talks!—but lousy for my readers.
So, what to do? Do I put her off next time she calls? Do I take two walks a day—one for myself, one for my books? I'm yet to work that out, folks, but it's not such a bad quandry to have. I could be all alone with no friends, no readers, no ideas. I have to find a happy medium, I'm just not sure what it is, yet.
Perhaps I'll work out the solution on my next walk…
Until then, happy reading (and walking) everyone!
IT'S OFFICIAL! I have just finished the 4th adventure for my Agatha Christie Book Club! And to celebrate, I'm giving YOU a chance to win a prize.
Every. Single. Week.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Titled And Then There Were Nine: The Agatha Christie Book Club 4, in this installment the Book Club have expanded, inviting four fabulous new members to join the fold.
To get to know each other better and discuss the latest book (Christie's And Then There Were None), they head off to an isolated rainforest lodge.
That is their first mistake!
Before you know it, two people are murdered, there's a fire roaring up the mountain and a killer still on the loose.
Is there a stranger lurking in the forest or is the killer one of them?
THIS WEEK'S WINNER…
If you liked the sound of that, you'll be happy to hear the manuscript is now with my editor (hey Annie!) and will be launched very soon. Until then, I'm giving one devoted subscriber a FREE ecopy of one of the previous Agatha Christie Book Club adventures—whichever one they choose.*
TO WIN: Just keep reading these newsletters! I'll pick a subscriber randomly from the list and announce the name each week. If that's you, I will then contact you directly to find out which book you'd like.
*Don't panic if you've already read ALL THREE in the series. You're my favourite kind of subscriber and will get a chance to choose from any of my other cozy mysteries (see here).
THIS WEEK'S WINNER IS...
Congratulations R.Dawn.Brown! I will be in touch with you soon.
Everyone else, keep watching for more weekly giveaways. Or catch up on the story via the links, below.