It’s cluttered in there – full of scrappy notes and odd pictures and bits and bobs that you think might just, in some strange and wonderful way, inspire you to write a scene or a line of dialogue or let you into the inside of a character’s mind. Because a character’s mind is just as inaccessible as a real person’s at first and I find that a book only begins to flow for me when I really start to discover how my characters’ minds work.
So these are the things that are in my mind at the moment as I embark on writing another book – I have draft one of my next book finished but another book is beckoning very insistently and, try as I might, I can’t shut it out.
This book – Little Women – will be in my book, I know that much. And my book will be about sisters too.
All of my books have been set in Australia. This one won’t be – and not just because I’d like a research trip to New York. It’s just where it’s decided it has to be set – and I can’t argue with that, after all I’m just the writer.
This is a section from a painting that hangs on the wall in my study. The girl in the painting is now one of the characters in my book. It’s just exactly the kind of thing she would do – daydream in the sun with a cat curled up by her side.
It’s all Emily Dickinson’s fault. I was reading Lyndall Gordon’s wonderful biography of Dickinson and the ideas came flooding in. I don’t know how I leapt from Dickinson to Little Women to New York but I just did.
I’m quite sure this wash bowl and jug would be in the house of the sisters in my book. And yes, that means another big change for me. I don’t think this book will be set in contemporary times.
So that’s what’s in my mind at the moment. As I said, it’s a random collection of thoughts and images that I just hope will assemble themselves into a book – but I need to finish book number three first! At least I can’t complain about being short of inspiration.