People say I am unobservant. And yes, they are correct. I am the person who walks down the street and ignores you. Not intentionally, but I am so caught up in my own little Beev bubble (probably dreaming up my next plot) that I literally do not notice who or what is going on around me. You can be standing right in front of me, waving like a loon and calling my name, but unless you pull my hair or slap me round the face, chances are I will pass you by and never realize you were there.
I once had six full sacks of garden rubbish sitting beside my front door waiting to go to the tip. One day while I was at work, my neighbour kindly took them for me with her own rubbish. It took me two weeks before I noticed they had gone. And let’s be clear, these weren’t small sacks, they were giant size and filled to the brim. In fact I had been tripping over them every time I tried to get in and out of my front door, so you’d think I would have noticed when they’d disappeared.
So we have established just how unobservant I am, yet as a writer I do notice some things. I notice idiosyncrasies, I always notice and remember how things smell, from people to animals to places, and I notice the changing seasons.
Summer is my favourite season. I love the warmth of the sun on my skin, the thick lush greenness of the flora, evenings that stay light until nearly 10pm, thunderstorms and the scent of summer rain. That said, I can find something to like in all seasons; tulips, daffodils, blossom trees and new born animals, and the promise of the summer to come in spring, the beautiful fall colours of autumn, crunching through leaves, that cooling nip in the air, then winter, often haunting and bleak, but so pretty at times in the frost and snow; especially when you’re snuggled up in the warm with a hot cup of coffee or a smooth glass of wine and some good food, looking at it through the window.
I think most writers would agree that the seasons play a part in your work. Once I have established my characters and the basics of the plot, I think about what time of year I want to set things. Will my characters be suffering through a humid summer or dealing with the shorter days of a harsh winter? The sounds, smells and feel of the weather all help add atmosphere and can bring a scene to life.
The Dead Letter Day sequel is set during a sweltering summer. The stifling days add to my characters frustrations and cause sleepless nights. I’m planning on throwing in a good thunderstorm to help set the atmosphere for a particular scene and the heat can cause carelessness. It’s never a wise idea to leave the windows open when there is a killer on the loose.