Saturday, 12 February 2011

Fact Stranger Than Fiction

I've been reading a lot lately and have been enjoying it immensely. We're off to visit our daughter in St Andrews for a couple of days this week and I will be taking several books to read in the comfort of the fabulous Old Course Hotel. Every so often an author slips something into a plot that makes the reader think "Hang on a minute. Would that really happen? Could that really happen?". So what would you say if the plot of my next novel hinged on the protagonist finding a singed and blackened (but still legible) letter addressed to his wife in the hearth? A letter that had been thrown onto a blazing fire six weeks earlier? "Hmmm" I can hear "pull the other one".

And yet that is exactly what confronted me this morning as I did my weekly clean of the lounge. There, on the hearth, was this letter addressed to Marion. (I didn't read it of course). She had a few letters over Christmas and, after reading them,she added them to one of the many roaring fires that were necessary in the cold spell. This one must have caught a draught and shot up the chimney where it lodged only to float back down again last night,many weeks later, almost complete. It's only a letter from her friend in the children's section of the local bookshop but, in my fiction, it could be a vital clue to a crime or maybe a revelation of a terrible secret. If any authors are reading this, you can use it if you like After all, when anyone reads it in your novel they will think "Hang on a minute. Would that really happen? Could that really happen?"

After the emotional turmoil of "Never Let Me Go" last week, this week I am reading something altogether lighter. Being a bit of a softy, the strap line on the cover sold this book to me when I was browsing through a bookshop recently. It's a very easy read full of village greens, golf clubs and Middle England. But there's much more to it than that as the Major of the title's love interest is a Pakistani shopkeeper which, as you can imagine, hardly goes down a storm with the snooty locals. I haven't quite finished it yet but am enjoying it very much.

The culture filled days of our retirement are never ending. We've made loads of cinema, restaurant  and gallery visits in the few weeks since we stopped working and since I recovered from the hip replacement although we've been to only two live performances so far. This should change as, this week, we've booked to see Lenny Henry at the Lowry in April and Dolly Parton in Liverpool in August. We're on the Echo Arena mailing list and I thought that Marion was joking when she said that she would like to see Dolly as she's never been a big Country fan and hated Paul's Shania Twain albums when he was a kid but she was deadly serious and I've booked a pair. Should be an interesting night.