I Can't Imagine! ~ Maressa Mortimer
Last Saturday was a thrilling day for me. I was off to London, by myself, to meet lots of other Christian writers. It involved getting up at an unholy hour, after getting to bed late. I was trying to sort out hubby and kids for the following day, to make sure they’d all survive.
So by six in the morning, I was safely installed on a comfortable coach, on my way to London. I was too restless to listen to an audiobook, listening to music instead. I kept dozing off, but when I woke up, the landscape was intriguing. I could see faint outlines of undulating hills, shrouded in mist. You could see the mist reaching out with long fingers, wrapping itself around a treetop that had been almost visible just before.
I took several pictures, knowing it wouldn’t look like anything on my phone afterwards. There would be lorries, blurry cars and the hills would not stand out. I spotted some car headlights, tucked between two hills, no road in sight. Why? Who would drive there, park there? I was going to have breakfast at a splendid establishment with Wendy H Jones, and as we both enjoy crime books, the driver in the car half-hidden by mist didn’t come off too well.
After our delicious breakfast, we went to the Writers Conference, and the speaker was reminiscing as it’s the organisation’s 50th anniversary, so she talked to us about those things she has found useful as a writer. At one stage she asked, “Where do you get your inspiration from?” I laughed. Wendy laughed. Other people showed more suitable reactions, but it made me think.
Where do I get my inspiration from? Literally everywhere. Misty lanes, moaning kids, missing scissors, sticky baklava on a sunny beach, huge waves, overheard snippets of conversation. The list is endless as my mind seems to have no sense of boundaries or propriety. Anything goes. As a pastor’s wife and mother of four wonderful children, I am pretty sure I have never met anybody with a folded up body in their suitcase. But watching a man walk along a deserted dual carriageway at two o’clock in the morning holding a briefcase instantly made my mind dash off into that direction. After a while, I convinced myself he’d probably simply missed the last bus.
As some of you know, I’m very new to writing. It’s only when I started doing a fake blog based on a game, that I started looking around me, seeing a new blog, or a new conversation between characters. I love imagining stories around landscapes. People I have seen, houses we have passed and overheard conversations are then easily fitted into the landscape. It’s like my favourite programme Bookbrush. You start with a background picture, then you add images to it, maybe layering them with some images barely visible but adding texture or colour to the whole. Then you add more text, changing the words, the font, the size.
So has your mind got a gazillion drawers for random images, hoping to somehow find them back again? Or do you purposefully look for inspiration? Do you store inspirational ideas properly, or do you trust to somehow recall that misty feeling when needed, fit that hearty laugh into the picture when you get to it?
Her debut novel, Sapphire Beach, was published in December 2019, and her first self published novel, Walled City, came out in December 2020, followed by Viking Ferry, a novella. Beyond the Hills is the second book in the Elabi Chronicles, and was released on June 18th 2021. All of Maressa’s books are available from her website, www.vicarioushome.com, Amazon or local bookshops.