Wednesday 16 April 2014

Marking Time?

I've always wanted to write a Christmas book - something that goes out in November, with holly and red ribbons on the cover. Unfortunately, when you write thrillers, even those heavy on romance, the traditional Chrismassy stuff doesn't quite work. That red on the cover is more likely to be blood than ribbons. Doesn't stop the hankering though. I've toyed with the idea of something based on a ghost story, as they also seem to be traditional around Christmas, but nothing has presented itself. So - I'll just keep hankering.

I have to admit that some of the more obscure time markers and celebrations are a particular fascination of mine. Solstices and Exquinoxes, festivals like Beltane, Lammas and Halloween - although that one is not so obscure in the UK these days. A book that incorporates Halloween and Guy Fawkes is in the pipeline, so that's one hankering off the list. The slightly spooky aura of ancient festivals is a big attraction when you write the scary stuff - names that come drawing ready made trails of atmosphere behind them. Dangerous times, when change is in the air.

Twelfth Night is another celebration when I'd love to set a book - that one might be a possibility for the Chrismassy one, so who knows? Another date I've picked up and stored away is the Eve of St Agnes - thanks to the poet John Keats. I must confess that it is years since I read the poem, but the idea and images have stayed with me, probably as much for the paintings that the story has inspired  - from Millais, Holman Hunt, Arthur Hughes. Poetic inspiration and the Pre Raphaelites - how can I resist?

Dark and cold.
Do I really want
to write about this?

There is only one problem, as you may have noticed - a lot of these festivals take place when the weather is cold. And I always say I don't do cold when I'm writing - that my books have to be set somewhere warm. Things can be just as creepy when the sun shines and a comfortable author is a happy author. Which may be another reason for that Christmas book still being a pipe dream.

Not sure what I'm going to do about that, if I'm ever going to cross some of those dates off the wish list.

Maybe if I got away somewhere, where the weather is warm, to write them?

Dream on.

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