So, in the absence of spectacular Maine scenery, where can we find inspiration? Just lately, I’ve found myself using ‘what if’ questions as the starting place for much bigger ideas.
My next Vida and Slater novel is going to start from one of these ‘what if’ questions. While we were in Maine, we went on a whale watching trip. Well, I say we, but I excluded myself from this; unfortunately my claustrophobia is getting worse and while sitting on an open boat in the ocean would seem to be the antithesis of this, in truth I can’t stand to be in spaces that I can’t extract myself from at my convenience. I had visions of a panic attack followed by me diving into the sea. So, I stayed on shore while my family went out on the whale watching trip. And it got me to thinking about what if I wasn’t there when they came back? Again, much of this question was driven by the realities of my life. Towards the end of a three week vacation, I’m sure most mothers are desperate for some alone time and the thought of driving off into the wilds of the US was extremely tempting. But duty of course kept me there. But what if it didn’t? What if there was something else that was more powerful? What if?
And so the start of the next novel will see a husband and daughter leave her mother on the side of the wharf in Northumberland as they set off on a puffin watch adventure. But when they land, she’s not there. Has someone compelled her to leave? Has she just had enough of it all? Was it her choice or someone else’s? You’ll have to read on to find out which it is.
I’ll have to actually write it first though, so watch this space!
What would your ‘what if’ question be? Tell me in the comments below.