|'Fish Shack' by Lane Mathias|
Sometimes a story comes along that demands to be written; the opening scenes of my first novel, Turning the Tide, came to me when we were pottering around in Veryan, our vintage wooden boat. Little Spitmarsh, the struggling seaside town where the novel is set, was inspired by some of the sleepy places we visited during our first Epic Voyage. I also loved writing Follow A Star which drew me back to Little Spitmarsh. However, I also know how it feels to wrestle with a story; there were many times I felt like giving up with my second novel, Move Over Darling, so it was all the more satisfying when I finally typed ‘The End'.
Sailing, a bit like writing, can flow. Or not. Our first shakedown cruise of the season in Blue Nun last weekend got off to a shaky start with missing items, a wasp’s nest in the making in the cabin and the usual wiring and engine glitches. Then, hurray, the tide turned in our favour. I didn’t need to wear my thermals at night, we had a sleepy little anchorage all to ourselves and a fair wind took us all the way back to the mooring under sail. The first adventure this year, in our small boat.
I’ve been ticking over with the novel that’s been taking me in a slightly different direction but progress has been slow. Even so, I’ve been happy to do the heavy lifting to get this novel going and then - contrary to all the advice to ‘finish the damn story’ - I was struck by an idea for a new Little Spitmarsh novel that, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it, refused to go away. Serendipity seemed to confirm my decision to go for it when a wonderful painting by the very talented artist, Lane Mathias appeared on my Facebook. Fish Shack sums up everything I love about my fictional town, Little Spitmarsh. I snapped the painting up immediately and it now hangs above my desk to cheer me along on the days when the writing flows against, rather than with, the tide.