Monday, May 30, 2011

The Power of the Ocean

I'm on a brief break from novel writing at the moment. Last week's scramble to meet the deadline for Taillights exhausted me, and I decided to let myself have two weeks off. Of course, by Monday (the deadline was Friday), I was scratching around for something to do. So I decided to write another Beach House story. I'm getting near the end of this collection of short stories tracing the lives of one family through their summers at the beach house. My protagonist and narrator starts the series at age four, and finishes at eleven.

When I started writing this latest installment, I realized the sea and beaches feature in a lot of my work. The ocean is very important to me, I think because I live on an island. Even though I can't see the beach from my house, I know that walking for fifteen minutes or less in either direction will take me there.

The times in my life I've had the most trouble, been the most out of control, have been the periods where I was landlocked. In Beijing as a child I went a little crazy, got into huge trouble at school and was generally a pretty terrible little kid. And later, in London as an eighteen-year-old, I went a little nuts and ended up drinking far too much and using too many illicit substances.

I've never been out of control of my life when I'm near the sea. It's like a balm, a steadying influence on me. Weird, huh? But I guess it explains the thread of salt-water that runs through my stories. The beach plays an important part in Chasing the Taillights too, and features in so many of my short stories. Etched in Stone, begins and ends on the beach; The Beautiful Paradox is all about the sea and surf; Captured (my most recently published story - check it out in Cutlass and Musket: Tales of Piratical Skulduggery) winds up on the high seas, and of course the five stories that make up the Beach House series so far are all set by the ocean. And I'm sure there are more I haven't thought of.

What influences your life so strongly it seams through all your work?


  1. I don't know really, but it's amazing how things that are important manage to weave their way into your fiction, even if you hadn't planned on including them.

  2. Taking breaks is a VERY good thing. My life experiences is becoming my novel theme. Enjoy your time off. :)

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

  3. Probably the theatre to a large extent for me.

  4. I so love the beach, too. However, I notice the desert seems to find its way into many of my novels. Perhaps because I lived in one for 13 years. There is just something so magical about the desert that goes unseen by the passive observer, I guess.
    Great post!