Character, Plot and Place – three essential ingredients for a novel. I think I’d usually say that ‘Character’ is my priority, but today, ‘Place’ is on my mind. When I come to think of it, I tend to associate people with places where I see them most often.
Right now I’m in Hong Kong (as I mentioned in my post below) – more precisely, I’m on Lamma island, where the Ann, the main character in my book, Paper Lanterns, spends a week that changes her life. So it’s not surprising that I thought about Ann’s reaction to the island when I arrived there on Thursday afternoon:
“Now she’s close enough to see the long ferry pier jutting out into the still water of the bay, and the small flat-roofed houses nestling on the slope of the hill among tall trees. And there, on the near side of the pier, a tiny collection of wooden shacks on stilts, perched above the rocks on the shoreline, and behind these, a small inlet with a cluster of little boats.”
As I emerged onto the pier myself, I thought of Ann again, “ The first thing that strikes her is the row of bicycles that straddles the top bar of the railings on each side of the long, concrete pier.”
It’s the Chinese new year this weekend, and I was delighted to see the long line of bright red , tasselled paper lanterns swaying above the bikes in the breeze. There’s an air of excitement in the narrow main street of Yung Shue Wan, but it it looks as though the weather will be cooler than expected, and is likely to rain.
Still, at least I managed to get here – there was an hour or more when I thought we’d all have to go home again, while the plane full of passengers was waiting on the tarmac at Birmingham airport for our turn with the de-icer machine to clear the wings of the inch or so of snow that had just fallen. I’d not realized how disruptive even a centimeter of snow can be, when combined with zero temperatures. At least we won’t have snow and ice here.
In case you haven’t yet seen the cover of my book, I have to tell you that the lanterns on the cover are green, not red! The book will be on sale on this site next month, but meanwhile you can find out more about it here.