One of the questions I’m most often asked at book events is: ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ The answer is usually frustratingly simple. They just come to me, at any time of day or night, often when I’m not even actively thinking about the book I’m working on.
Over the years, I’ve found that the more I write, the more it stimulates my imagination. I can’t guarantee that every idea is a good one, of course, but one thing that’s definitely true is that the best seem to land, not while I’m glaring at a computer, but away from my desk doing some actual living.
This was partly why, after a ridiculously busy first half of 2019, I unapologetically took a couple of weeks off this month and tried to not even think about writing. As a result, this newsletter is slightly heavier on sunbathing and scuba diving news than usual. Yes, you read that right. I learnt to scuba dive! I have never been one for lying on my back next to a pool all day; even when I’m completely riveted by a book, I can’t go more than a couple of hours before feeling overheated and restless. So during our stay in Ibiza, my 10 year old Lucas and I signed up to take our basic dive qualification at the Cala Pada Dive School.
My boy is a bit like me in that he doesn’t like to sit still for long. We were taught by a lovely German instructor called Sebastian who never once looked at me like I was a thicko when my eyes glazed over at all the physics for which you have to sit an exam (I KNOW!). There was a lot of classroom-based theory at first - though when I say ‘classroom-based’, I mean on a lovely terrace overlooking the sea. And honestly, if you’d told me at the start of my holiday that by the time I flew home I’d be able to tell you all about Henry’s Law of Partial Pressure, I wouldn’t have believed you.
The dives were heaven. There just aren’t enough adjectives in the world to describe how much I loved being at the bottom of the sea, amongst fish and coral. It was nothing like I’d expected – I didn’t feel in the slightest bit nervous; in fact, for 40 magical minutes at a time I never felt anything other than completely peaceful (Mums: it is an established scientific fact that you cannot hear any moaning, fighting or complaining whilst 20 metres under water). As you can tell, I’m hooked. So much so that it’s already inspired an idea for my next novel. So watch this space…