Thanks to Jenn J McLeod for stopping by my blog and sharing with us her thoughts about writing, life on the road and the release of her new book, The Other Side of the Season.
“The things I wish they’d told me earlier:
Picture this—life on the road:
Just wake up in the morning after a great night’s sleep, have a stretch and a yawn, and mull over a moreish brekkie of camp-fire cooked bacon, eggs and damper about which way to point the caravan today.
Sounds perfect, yeah?
Perfect fiction, maybe!
Almost two years of being gypsies, my partner and I are still trying to fit into the rhythm of life on the road and still meet publishing deadlines. We have no regrets, we haven’t killed each other—yet, nor have I missed a deadline—yet, and there’s been no Thelma and Louise moments either (*touch wood*), but there are things I wish we’d known before setting out, like how hard it would be to sleep when you can hear everything from boxing kangaroos fighting over territory to cows chewing their cuds. And let me tell you, the pitter-patter of rain on a tin roof might be lovely in a house. Sheeting rain, gale-force winds, thunder and lightning is the only time I miss the safety of bricks and mortar. Then there are things like:
- Mobile data is going to send me broke: And fast! Plus, it’s so unreliable and I hate it when I can’t connect with readers online. I mean Facebooking is important—right? You know how serious I am about data costs when I get excited enough about a Telstra free data day that I get up at midnight to take full advantage.
- Breakdowns: No, not mine (although I came close to one with this book and all it’s characters doing things I didn’t want them to do). I’m referring to the caravan and its various fittings and appliances. I should have expected that everything in the van would rattle and shake around on country roads, the same as we do, or that they’d misbehave (like my characters). They just don’t make things to last these days. The problem is exacerbated by the service people who casually suggest: “No worries, love, bring the van into the workshop and leave it with us for a few days.”
“Umm,” I reply, “Only if you have room in that workshop for two people (including one a crazy writer) and a one-eyed dude-dog called Daiquiri who thinks she’s a Great Dane.”
- Plotting and planning: No, not of the ‘writerly’ kind, but of the ‘which way to go’ kind. You’d think picking a direction would be the easy part. But we are still so new to life on the road that we worry about low bridges and high mountains and everything in between. Roads that twist and weave up and over mountain ranges freak me out. (Give me a plot twist and I’m fine, like one of those you’ll find in my latest release.)
The final thing I wish someone had told me earlier was to get out there and give it a go. What an incredibly positive influence the camping/caravanning life is having on my writing. Not only am I seeing and hearing and sensing things I’m sure I never noticed in the city, everything is clearer, crisper, and more colourful. My senses are in overload and they are inspiring lots of new stories.
So, yeah, the gypsy life has its charms and its qualms and life is now full of compromises—something my characters have to come to terms with in The Other Side of the Season.
- Sid, for example, agrees to go to Melbourne with her partner, upsetting her mother in the process who dislikes Damien. (I can’t wait to hear what readers think of him!!)
- David also has to come to terms with his situation and be content to make do and settle for a life he never asked for.
- Matthew is prepared to make a deal, if only the family can come to an understanding.
Come to think of it, just about everyone in this book is having to compromise in some way in order to learn and grow.
So, yes, compromises are a fact of life (and, it seems, of fiction).
Book information and BUY links – www.jennjmcleod.com/book-room