How do you decide what to write about?
I don’t know how other people do it, but my stories are in a sense about me and my life. Just changed. Many of the elements come from who and what I know, and my own experiences. And then a lot comes straight from my imagination. For example, here is a scene from the story I am currently working on.
Sam was due to meet Marius at half past twelve. Arriving at the beachfront early, with more than an hour to spare, she had plenty of time to explore. She parked her mother’s old BMW in the parking lot near the Red Windmill. The old landmark from her childhood was still there, though practically engulfed by a new building housing a dive school. Quite different from the distinctive roadhouse the Red Windmill had been when she was a little girl.
The whole area along that stretch of PE’s beachfront had been redeveloped years before, and she and Patrick had been there on previous visits. But there seemed to be a whole range of new hotels and restaurants on the other side of Marine Drive, and also next to the pier, that she had not seen before. PE had grown in recent years, to accommodate an increasing tourist trade. This was evident by the number of people on the promenade and the area around the pier. It was much busier than she had expected for a normal weekday in the middle of May.
She carefully locked the car, greeting the friendly old woman masquerading as a car guard. Sam reminded herself to ask Marius how much change she should give the old lady for supposedly watching the car. She found that although it was all so familiar, at the same time she felt like a stranger, and was unsure how much of the propaganda one heard in Sydney about the high level of crime in South Africa she should believe. Her parents had assured her that she would be quite safe at Hobie Beach and its surrounds in the middle of the day, but she still felt a little nervous.
Sam is a bit of me. I am a bit of her. But she is not me.