Monday, October 31, 2016

Hallowe'en Greetings from a non-starter

I’ve read with interest the several posts on Hallowe’en, and Happy Hallowe’en to everyone who is participating in any way. Here in Australia, Hallowe’en is not big. In my regional New South Wales town, one supermarket chain offers huge Jack o’Lantern pumpkins with instructions how to carve. A few other retailers display costumes and assorted Hallowe’en bits and pieces; however, early on the morning of Saturday 29th, the newsagent/gift shop in the main shopping centre reduced its dozen or so Hallowee’en items by 40%.
Several years ago, I was lucky enough to experience an American Hallowe’en while staying with friends in Pensacola. Pride of place in their house front window was a carved pumpkin; rooms were festooned with assorted orange and black decorations, and we ate, among other appropriate foodstuffs, home-made orange cupcakes with black icing. In the evening, we joined a Haunted House walking tour of the historic district, where we heard tales of the houses’ pasts and the ghosts who were (are?) supposed to revisit these, their homes, on Hallowe’en. Such a fascinating and spooky brief encounter with some of the heritage of the area.
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Just the other day, I was asked where I got the idea from for my recent release Where the Heart Is, especially since the setting for most of this contemporary romance is in the Eastern Caribbean, geographically distant and not easy to reach from Australia. A newspaper ad caught my writer’s attention, not because I was interested in the product (which was not for a drink or for travel), but because it featured two tall glasses of an amber liquid garnished with slices of lime and paper umbrellas on swizzle sticks. The background showed a wooden jetty extending into a turquoise sea. Cutting the ad out, I saved it. Some time later, browsing through my ideas folder, the ad “told” me this was the location for a story set in the Caribbean. I have no idea why, as it could easily have been in Australia. The amber liquid became a mango daiquiri, while the jetty was needed for the fictitious amphibian plane that serviced a fictitious island. So much research to do!
I had a fabulous holiday. I visited Barbados, scribbling bits of the story while waiting for a flight to St Vincent, from where I took the ferry through the Grenadine islands. Champagne island in the story is a composite of what I experienced; the characters and plot are entirely imagination.

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Back to Hallowe’en—over to you in the northern hemisphere. Have fun! Love, Priscilla.

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