Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On the Casting Couch with Maggie Silver

I'm sitting on the Casting Couch myself this week to talk about my latest book, Kissing Maggie Silver and what prompted me to write it.

What prompts any writer? It can be a photo, an overheard conversation, a personal experience, a snippet of news, a throwaway remark by a friend...the list is endless.  In the case of Maggie Silver it was two things.  The first was a visit to a nature reserve in New Zealand, a place where seals, penguins and sea birds are allowed to breed and feed naturally without any interference from the rangers who protect them. The peace and the wild  beauty of the place is magical and especially memorable is a spectacular beach of pale sand that belongs to the tiny blue penguins that live there. No human had walked on it for many years. Instead the penguins and visiting seals  are viewed from camouflaged hides that are built into the surrounding cliffs.

The second inspiration was a photograph of a lovely red-haired model whose clear gray eyes seemed to be full of wistful  longing. I couldn't get her face out of my head and thus, Maggie Silver was born.

Once I'd found Maggie Silver I knew she would visit that beautiful beach in New Zealand one day; the problem  was how to get her there. I knew it was so far from her own life experience that she had a long way to go...much further than the geographical distance she would have to travel...to reach it. As soon as I understood that, then her whole personality clicked into place.She was the youngest of a large family, the only girl, used to being teased and treated as little more than a child. She was also kind, helpful, sparky and full of life. Deep down, however, she was still immature and lacking in confidence. I also knew she was someone who was actually more comfortable with her own company than she realised.

Ruairi was far more difficult.  I knew he was the person who would open up the world for her, but how? His face came to me long before I knew he was a wildlife photographer and there were no prompts. He just appeared, fully formed, in my imagination, the absolute counterweight to Maggie. After that it was only a matter of time before his tan skin, his size and strength and his casual confidence turned him into a world traveller, someone who could quickly be at home wherever he was.

After that it was easy because I already knew that Maggie had fallen in love with him when she was far too young to know what her feelings meant. I knew, too, that she had always had a special place in Ruairi's heart, so all I needed to do was to find a way for them to meet up again, and with Maggie's large and ever present family ruling her life, it wasn't difficult. What was difficult was finding a way for them to be alone.

Then there were the small glitches in their personalities that I had to overcome; Maggie's temper and her tendency to feel sorry for herself, and Ruairi's obstinacy. Maggie had to grow up and Ruairi had to learn that sometimes he was wrong. Fortunately they had good people on their side, people who wanted the best for them because they loved them, and because they knew, even if Ruairi and Maggie didn't, that they were absolutely right for one another.

To find out what happened and how they  got there go to http://amzn.to/10hfmBq or http://bookswelove.net/claydon.php. When you do you will understand how much I enjoyed writing about them.

And finally, who would I most like to meet? It's the question I ask all the authors who sit on the Casting Couch so I can't avoid it myself. In this instance it would be Ruairi. Maggie I already know intimately because I lived with her through every emotion and I suffered her frustration with Ruairi when he walked away. Ruairi is another matter entirely.  He has been to so many places in the world and seen so many things that he would be the ideal dinner companion, and the fact that he is easy on the eye would just be another bonus.