It was just an evening walk along the beach so I was a bit surprised to see myself caught on camera trying to get a signal on my iPad. I’ve been a bit obsessed lately with research for a new book and it turns out that when I’m doing one thing I’m often (usually?) still thinking about that story. It won’t let me go. The fierce hold it has on me is what gives me the momentum and energy to make myself sit down again at my desk, day after day, even when the sun shines and the world outside is beautiful.
But I think I’ve come to the end of the road with research I can do from so far away. The story, a true tale, takes place in London in the eighteenth century. It’s amazing how much can be discovered using online searches and digital images of records available in the public domain. I’ve pieced together the bare facts of the protagonist’s life and found some wonderful detail about the settings. I’ve used my imagination to take me there, back through time and across oceans. I’ve drafted scenes and written dialogue using transcripts of documents from websites. But this is as far as I can go without travelling in real time and space. There’s so much more. But it’s all in London – in archives and museums and libraries – and I’m on a beach in Western Australia. Far, far away.
This morning, something new appeared in my online rummaging and it’s so exciting that it made my heart pound but it will be impossible to find out more without going on a very expensive journey. So, for now, I’ll keep doing what I tell everyone else to do!
Search. Imagine. Write. And never give up.