Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Writer's Wednesday - Dreaming with Carol Townend


Today join Historicals author Carol Townend in her own version of escapism - and refilling the well for the next novel...

The novel has been finished and sent in on time. The revisions have not yet come back. This Wednesday I am not even going to consider the Other Possibility. We all know what that is - Rejection. No, we are not going to go there, it is too dark. So, today is a sunny day, the novel is NOT going to be rejected.

I am sitting in a café in the medieval city of Conques in France with my husband and we are on holiday (aka Doing Research). The café overlooks the Abbey Church and the bells are ringing. A sparrow has its beady eye on us, it is hoping we will leave it some croissant. And, as mentioned, it is sunny and warm. The dawn mist has melted, earlier it hung in the valley as though trying to hide the town from prying eyes.

There is an intense feeling of mystery in Conques, but it is as tenuous as that mist, as tenuous as the idea for that next novel that I am trying so hard not to think about, because sometimes it works like that. The best way to work on the next novel, can be not to work on the next novel, to let it remain unknown for a little longer. The coffee is good and strong.

The eastern doorway of the Abbey is facing our café. Over the top is an intricate carving of the Last Judgement. There is a lot to look at, what with the herald angels and the chosen, the devils and the damned. What holds my eye is a long ribbon parchment running over the entire arch. It has several monks peering over the top of it. The monks are very cute and they are reading most intently, with their noses buried right in the scroll. I have a feeling that the Last Judgment is trying to tell me something, but since it’s a holiday, I don’t push it. This is dreamtime. My husband, delighted by my scintillating conversation, wanders off to sketch a section of the Abbey cloisters.

Conques is a magical place, tucked away in the mountains in the middle of France. It looks like a Spielberg film set, and as you glance up the narrow, cobbled streets, it is all too easy to see the ghosts of the medieval pilgrims who used to walk through on their way to Santiago de Compostela. There is even a signpost on a nearby hill, close to the shrine of Ste Foy. It says Santiago is over 1,000 kms away. Some pilgrims walked the entire route, it would take them years. (It can take that long to write a novel!) Some pilgrims even went the whole way on their knees.

While my husband sketches I wonder if that road romance about the pilgrim routes might actually get written one day. What if it never comes into focus? No matter, we really are on holiday, so the mind is free to dream and think up wild extravagant plots which may or may not get written. The picture of the capital in the cloisters shows medieval knights with leaf-shaped shields and pennons fluttering from their lances.

This then is a holiday. One novel has been sent off, and the next is only a whisper at the back of the mind. A million decisions need to be taken to finish a novel, some of them very hard. But not all of writing is about making decisions, I am convinced that dreamtime is vital. Heaven knows how the mind works, and of course each writer will tackle the job in their own way, but one thing seems certain, everyone needs dreamtime.

There is a prize draw for those who leave a comment about their favourite way of relaxing! A copy of An Honourable Rogue will be sent to the winner.

An Honourable Rogue by Carol Townend
Mills & Boon Historical, September 2008: ISBN 9780263862799
My Website: http://www.caroltownend.co.uk/





31 comments:

  1. Fascinating post, Carol.

    One of my best friends walked some of the Santiago pilgrim route last summer; she said it was an amazing experience.

    1000km on your knees... ouch. They used to walk barefoot to Walsingham, not far from me - even Henry VIII walked the last couple of miles barefoot. (I'm saying nothing about the Reformation *g*)

    Really interesting about Conques. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Hi Kate!
    We did see a lot of pilgrims, but none of them were going on their knees!
    All best
    Carol

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  3. My favourite way of relaxing - easy peasy. Light a candle, a bubble bath and a book. Of course we won't mention that I emerge like a crinkly prune after having read on a chapter too many :)

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  4. I like to relax by reading a book or knitting. Sometimes I do both at the sametime, by putting on an audio book and sitting in my comfy chair I listen and knit.

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  5. Great post. My favorite way to relax is to lie in bed and read.

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  6. Hi Judy, Rebekah and Crystal,
    It would seem that reading tops the list so far! :))) It is certainly one of my favourite ways of relaxing. But, Rebekah, how on earth can you manage to concentrate on a knitting pattern while reading? I would lose count, for sure!

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  7. Well, you can count me in with the reading also, but I find I am most relaxed when searching for ruins! Being in a remote place with just the building and nature for company really does it for me.

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  8. Currently my favourite way of relaxing involves the following;

    Lying to my children.
    Racing to the upstairs bathroom, entering it and bolting the door behind me.
    Turning on the shower, removing my book from the bundle of towels.
    Then sitting on the closed toilet seat and getting lost in the pages of romance.

    If my kids think I'm showering they'll leave me in peace for twenty minutes, tops. Desperate times call for desperate measures. None of them have even twigged that my hair is never wet when I come back downstairs after my 'shower'!!!

    But I have my answer ready when they do, showercaps!!

    Aideen.

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  9. My fav. way of relaxing is eating desserts and sip a nice cup of coffee.

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  10. Shopping actually relaxes me and finding things on sale!

    Congrats on your new book ;-)

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  11. I relax by reading. Within the pages of a good romance, I can escape the daily stresses of life.

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  12. Hello Alison,
    Looking round ruins - yes! - I can relate to that one ;)

    And Aideen, I hope you have a BIG stock of showercaps. Alternatively, can you get your children to bed early?

    Hi Lily,
    As you may guess coffee is a good one too, especially mid-morning. I was surprised your choices didn't come up sooner..

    All best
    Carol

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  13. Hello Nathalie and Cheri,
    Thank you for visiting and leaving your comments!
    Best wishes
    Carol

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  14. P.S.
    Forgot to mention that I have your book secured so I was just sharing my madness that is 'relax' time.

    Aideen.

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  15. Thanks so much, Aideen! Duly noted...
    All best
    Carol

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  16. I relax with chocolate and reading. Best wishes with the new book.

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  17. I relax by reading and going swimming.

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  18. I relax by reading romance novels. Congrats on your new book

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  19. I relax by cooking, strange but true.

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  20. Reading of course, out on my patio in the summer, with a nice glass of wine, watching the flowers bloom and listening to the sound of the waterfall we spent two summers putting in - ahhhhhhh!

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  21. A good book and popcorn is how l relax

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  22. Hi Carol
    My way to relax is with a romance novel, suspense or hisorical. I love reading your books as well as Bronwyn Scott and Nicola Cornick.

    Kimmy

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  23. Carol,

    Favourite way of relaxing? Has to be a toss up between a good book and a deep bath or a good book and a hammock strung in the shade on a warm day. Sigh!

    Love the sound of her research trip! Looking forward to checking out An Honourable Rogue!

    Annie

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  24. Um, Carol, I meant I love the sound of YOUR research trip. Can't type today.

    Annie

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  25. Relaxing for me is curling up with a book and a glass of red wine. Good luck with your new book.

    Katie

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  26. I love taking a hot shower and then spend the rest of the time lying on the couch reading or watching tv. On special occasions, I can persuade someone to give me a foot massage.

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  27. I relax by taking a warm rose and vanilla scented bath as well as reading.

    Catlin

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  28. relaxing for me is sitting on my swing in our screened tent listening to the water fountain's trickling of water and breathing in the fresh air.

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  29. Wow!
    So many ways of relaxing! Am very glad reading features so highly ;0
    Will put a line in the sand for the draw - midnight tonight, UK time.
    Best wishes
    Carol

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  30. Hi everyone!
    We have a winner for the draw - it is Anonymous - Kimmy!
    If you could please contact me via my website with your address, I will mail you your UK edition of An Honourable Rogue.
    Congratulations and best wishes!
    Carol

    http://www.caroltownend.co.uk

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  31. Wow, thanks carol. Ans thanks PHS for making it possible to win this wonderful prize.

    Kimmy

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