Tag Archives: the Brontes

Writing Retreat Joy

old parchment map, showing a a sailing ship, with two crosses cutlasses on top and eight or nine gold coins scattered between them at writing retreat

Image by MasterTux from Pixabay

I went on my first a writing retreat some years ago, at the invitation of a kind friend. Several authors were involved. We went to a wonderful wild bit of the Devon coast, drank the pub dry of first rioja and then malbec and wrote up a storm.

The place had a small natural harbour, with a history, and the tiniest, most evocative museum imaginable. For a while, I think every one of us pondered a story about a dashing pirate.

Young woman in a knitted hat and outdoor clothes sits under an overhanging rock on a rocky cliff, looking out over and inlet, with wider sea to the horizon.

Image by Joe from Pixabay

And we sketched out the story of the girl our sailor left behind him, standing on the headland with her hair blowing in the wind.

It brought out my inner Bronte, anyway. And, as anyone who knows my reading habits will attest, that doesn’t happen lightly.

The wind was a fantastic new experience for me. So were the waves it drove crashing against the rocks to fling up fifteen foot of spray at high tide. It crept into the book I was writing at the time.

This was in spite of the fact that the story had no opportunity for pirate, Jane Eyre-model heroine nor even the sea before that writing retreat. Continue reading

Magic of a Georgian Library

The last couple of weeks I have been contemplating the magic of a Georgian Library. As a result I have been researching libraries in general and, in particular, libraries I have known intimately. There are a surprising number of them scattered through my career. My spiritual home, maybe?

Georgian Library

Grand Library at Osterley Park, not like my poor house at all!

Partly this must be due to the novel I am currently editing. It stars a distinctly down-at-heel stately home. Its library was put together in the eighteenth century on the basis of some sketches by the Adam brothers and a certain amount of DIY on the part of the servants and the cash-strapped owner. A classical frieze in the library, indeed, was constructed out of clever paint effects and paper mâché. I’m rather in love with that frieze. Continue reading