Research and Writing…The Scotland Adventure
My third Novel, Life of Her, is about a woman who feels invisible. Invisible to her kids, her husband, the world. After raising a family, and defining her life for everyone else, an experience with breast cancer makes her invisible to herself, pushing her on the precipice of life? What life and who’s life she doesn’t know. What she does know is that she can’t stay where she is. Stuck being no one and nothing, she runs away from everything and everyone that has defined her…landing in Scotland. It is there she will discover who she is, awakening her passion for loving, living, and longing for what the rest of her life has to offer.
And there I go…
NO! I am not running away. My life is pretty damn good. Okay, I have teenagers, so maybe not so great all the time. But nothing a little wine or whiskey can’t help me forget. Ha!
Needless to say, I am off to Scotland. I had an opportunity to attend a creative writing retreat in the Highlands. Outside of the city of Inverness, the writing retreat takes place in a converted farmhouse tucked away from civilization. It is a time to learn from successful authors, share with fellow writers, and write.
Attending this retreat was the perfect opportunity to see the countryside of Scotland that I wrote about. See, I have never been to Scotland. Nor have I really known anyone from Scotland. And yet I conjured up people, a town, and experiences with Scotland in mind. Eeeeeek, that was stupid.
In my first two novels, I wrote about 19th Century England without ever having visited the United Kingdom. Ever! Yet, people who have have read my two novels and who have been to England said, and I quote, “You nailed it.” That is the power of the imagination, reading, and maybe a past life experience or two. So, I was not apprehensive about taking my protagonist in my new book to a city that she had never been, nor had I. I had always wanted to see Scotland, so why not take my character there. After all, look what it did for Claire! (Outlander fans will understand my desire to set my story in the charming countryside of Scotland – home to Jaime Fraser and the MacKenzie Clan.)
So, the opportunity presented itself…writing and Scotland. I get to work on my craft, and see the world in which I immersed my thoughts in for so many months writing my third novel. I only pray I got it right!
Who Does That?
As I take off, I am supported by many who are cheering me on, and to see and hear about my adventure. After all, it isn’t often a wife, a mom with two teenage kids, a needy dog, and Thanksgiving around the corner, just gets up and leaves for a couple of weeks. Did I say I was traveling without my family? They couldn’t believe it either.
“What about Thanksgiving?” they protested.
“It will come again next year…” I replied.
But here’s the thing…they don’t want to go with me! The thought of trouncing around ancient towns, in rain, ogling over architecture and amazed by empty ruins is not high on their sightseeing list. When I showed the pictures of my quaint retreat to my husband, he proclaimed, “It’s in the middle of nowhere!” He insisted he would hate it. Yes, he probably would. It has no TV.
Can You Imagine?
Well, I did imagine. And took it a step further. I planned a trip through Scotland, from Edinburgh, to Inverness, to Skye, to Fort William, and back to Edinburgh. I take a train up to the Highlands, a car around the Isle of Skye, and walk through ancient cities and towns roaming the multitude of abbeys, castles, estate homes, museums, and battlefields to my heart’s galore. I will explore, learn all I can, talk to strangers, eat what I want, and drink when I can. I will tour from morning to evening, and I will write until my eyes can’t keep themselves open. In other words, I am taking a trip my family would hate!
A Writer’s Life
And thus, I am off to Scotland. I am taking a trip that is all for me, on my time, with my interests. I am exploring new lands, researching for my latest novel and maybe novels yet to be, and studying my craft. I am doing what writers must do to produce work that is real and authentic. I am experiencing life!
I hope you stay with me on my adventure.