I had my hair done yesterday. Once you get over the polite ’are you planning a holiday?’ stage with your hairdresser the relationship can become strangely close and I have known Louisa now for a long time even if I only see her once every five weeks and never see her out of her working environment. I told her once she had permission to shoot me if I talked about growing my hair but that’s what I’m trying to do just now. We are aiming for a layered bob and it’s taking forever but so far so good. Thinking about the lovely chat we had as she did my hair reminded me about the show and tell aspect of writing the creative writing courses are always on about. You can show what a character is like through conversation and taking your female character to the hairdresser is a good way of doing that. I did it in A Family Weekend when Beth wanted a new hairstyle but is eventually persuaded by her hairdresser to stay with the ‘usual’. It therefore shows the reader without the need to spell it out that Beth is a timid sort, easily over-ruled by other people so never under-estimate the use of clever dialogue.
The lambs are in the field up the lane from me and it’s a delight to watch their antics. At first they stay close to Mum but after a while they start to be more adventurous and gather in little groups although Mum keeps a close eye on them and gives a deep baa if they stray too far. One interesting thing in the paper today is that there has been a huge increase in the number of young women wanting to become nuns and it has to be asked what prompts them to want to settle for what might seem a strange life to the rest of us. It interests me because I explored the life of a nun in Olivia’s Garden because one of my 3 women characters opts for that life and it was fascinating then doing the research and I hope I succeeded in showing the reader what that life meant to Anna and how important it was to her.
A visit to the Monkey Sanctuary near Looe in Cornwall with a selection of grandchildren. Access is via a one-track lane with passing places although you do hope to goodness you don’t meet a car coming towards you as somebody has to give way and a bit of a stand-off can result. I used just this scenario in A Small Fortune when my character Moira was absolutely determined not to be the one to reverse. Once there, it was a wonderful experience – all the monkeys are rescued from the UK from the pet trade. They live here in as natural a surrounding as possible and it’s heart-warming to see them living in groups where the hierarchy is strictly observed. Apparently a low ranking monkey would never dream of climbing on a higher branch than the top ranked male as knowing your place is everything in the monkey world.
Typical Easter weather – a mix of chilly grey days and some welcome sunshine. My new book re-titled The Street Party is coming out as an e-book first and I have been busy doing some light pruning for my publisher, the Cloudberry imprint at Luscious Books. However many times I look at a story I have written I can make changes to it, taking a word out here, adding something there and I love doing that. My editor pointed out that I had used two first names that sounded too similar to each other so it’s meant thinking of something else to call one of the characters – that is more difficult than it sounds. Over the years I seem to have used so many names and once I give a character a name it’s hard to change it. I was on duty at Buckland Abbey today in my role as volunteer and it was lovely to see a crowded car park and happy visitors on such a sunny Easter Monday. Walking down the path to the property always puts me in a calm reflective mood as it is in such a beautiful peaceful spot in its Devon valley.