The sun came up at dawn and the birds chirped.
The cat collided with the inside of my bedroom window as a blue-tit landed on the outer sill unaware of the danger that lurked within.
The bird flew off. The cat ambled to the kitchen for an early morning power snack.
A dog barked in the distance.
I rose. I brushed my teeth.
Everything seemed normal in the provincial town I call home.
Except it wasn’t.
Something had changed.
I knew it the moment I sat down in front of my laptop.
The empty pages that had stared back at me the day before yesterday, taunting me with my inability to dream up my next book, started to quiver and fade.
All at once, my fingers cut across the keys like a centipede wearing running shoes.
They moved so fast I had to keep dipping my fingertips into a bowl of water to cool them.
Yes, something had changed.
I had changed.
I had entered…“The Zone of Author Contentment,” and I was finally back in the groove.
Ask any writer what I’m talking about…they’ll know.
It’s where the author gets dumped on by inspiration.
Music. Movie. Poem. Conversation. Photo. News article.
Anything can spark the imagination and fuel the writing frenzy.
My new book, SALVATION. (Roll of drums…hit the lights)
What kick started it?
The previous day I had slipped off my lucky writing rabbit slippers (they are the ones with the huge fake ears). The luck bit wasn’t around.
I donned my sneakers and headed for a historic building up the road.
It was the type of joint where you paid a few bucks to kill a few hours.
As I wandered round the gardens, I saw a woman in dirty cargo jeans pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with plants.
She came close. Real close.
I caught the smell of manure.
Years of well-honed instinct told me she was the gardener.
It was as we passed that our eyes met.
I saw something there. She tried hard to hide it but I’m a writer. I sense these things.
I caught a look of despair and desperation on her face.
I was looking at a woman living day to day, coping with life, and life wasn’t good.
It had nothing to do with the production cycle of gardening and weed control.
Her face haunted me.
It was still haunting me as I opened the tin food for the cat later that evening.
I saw her face as I went to bed.
The woman told me she had lost love. Real love…the type of love that never dies.
She told me her happiness had been stolen. The woman she still loved now hated her—for all the wrong reasons.
When I woke the next morning I had my story. It was a sad one full of angst.
I had found my missing character.
The rest as they say is history.
The gardener became my SALVATION.