Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Sea Stories

This is my very first Blog piece for ABBA so firstly, and most importantly, hello! How are you? It’s very good to meet you. You look lovely today. I do hope 2016 is treating you well so far? Oh, that's good to hear. 

Right, now we’ve got the preliminaries out of the way I’m going to talk to you about writing and books because I am completely obsessed with stories.

People always say to me – where DO you get your ideas from?
Now, I know lots of writers say ‘Well I just have hundreds of them floating around in my head’ or ‘I’ll see something interesting in the street like a man with nostril hair that reaches his toes or a window with KEEP OUT- CRIME SCENE on it and I’ll think - what happened here? What’s this story?’

I am not one of these types of writers.
Nor am I one of those Inspiration Strikes types either.
I’m more of a tear your hair out, eat your computer, search for cake type writer.


BUT there is one place I can (almost) guarantee I will find a story and luckily enough I live right next to it. The Sea! Or more accurately the sea and the land near to the sea.
I am enormously fortunate that I get to take my dog Watson Jones to the beach every day and I find so much inspiration there.



I collect this stuff by the bucketful.



And, guess what? I’m working on a YA novel called…*Long Dramatic Drum Roll*… ‘Seaglass’.



I found this Victorian boot washed up on the shore. At first I thought it was a replica but the sole is made of metal and held on by tacks and people, who are much cleverer than I’ll ever be, have verified that it is indeed the real thing. When I found it I’d been working on a YA called ‘Gaslight’ which takes place in Victorian Cardiff and is largely set in the docks so I see this boot as a sign from The Great Ocean God Of Writing that I’m on the right path!

My first published book came out on World Book Day last year. It’s called ‘Elen’s Island’. I bet you can’t guess where it’s set? Or who the main protagonist is? Answers on a postcard to ‘Obvious, Wales’ if you please.



I’m not the only person to take inspiration from the sea – shame really, it would do wonders for my book sales – nor even the only person to take inspiration from the beach outside my garden.

Sharon Tregenza’s brilliant MG mystery ‘The Shiver Stone’ takes place in Saundersfoot (the lovely town where I live) and as well as being a tip top read the cover practically shows my house!



There are also superbly ace and cool books about surfing dudes and dudesses that I would never be able to write in a million years because I am so far away from cool I can’t even see it in the distance. If you want that sort of YA brilliance try ‘Blue’ and ‘Air’ by Lisa Glass.




Or if you like the magical, compelling mystery kind of YA then I thoroughly recommend ‘Deep Water’ by Lu Hersey which won the Mslexia Children’s Novel Writing Award. It’s a fantastic read and I love it BIG TIME!


Anyway that's where I get my ideas and it seems that lots of others do too but more importantly, if YOU write, where do you get yours? 

Are you inspired by the sea? What’s your favourite sea story? There are so many different types out there! What sort of story would you write about it?
Perhaps your sea story will be the next one on the shelves. I certainly hope so. I could do with another good sea story to read! Hopefully while I'm lying on a beach next to this kind of gorgeousness! Ah - remember the sun?


Emma Barnes said...

Welcome Eloise!

Books about the sea...I always loved My Family and Other Animals, not least for the way they were always swimming and boating in the glorious waters off Corfu.

And then there's Liz Kessler's fabulous mermaid stories (Liz is another ABBA poster).

I will definitely be seeking out these titles.

Sharon Tregenza said...

Ah, lovely post, Eloise. And you mentioned The Shiver Stone. Thank you so much. x

Sue Purkiss said...

Lovely post, Eloise! I'm fascinated by sea glass - someone told me pieces of sea glass are called 'mermaids' tears', and I've written a story (unpublished) for adults called that. Also love Sharon Tregenza's book, not least for the pervading presence of the sea, and for the same reason, I loved Marie-Louise Jensen's book, 'Between Two Seas'.

Penny Dolan said...

How nice to think of blue seas, beaches and sea glass on a grey, wintry day with the rain beating at the windows - and about two hours inland from the shore. Thanks for this inspiring post, Eloise, and welcome.

Becca McCallum said...

Ahhh, so many questions!

Ideas - um, everywhere? I have notebooks full of interesting words/names/facts, and I use pinterest to keep track of images or webpages that I've come across.

Sea - I live by the sea, and I walked home from work along the shoreline the other day after/during a storm. The seaweed was everywhere in thick black piles, and whole tree trunks were scattered across the sand, mixed in with shells, stones, seaglass and bits of flotsam. I collect the tiny bits of seaglass (and agates like carnelian and jasper) and put them in little glass bottles to make pendants with.

Favourite sea story - I like Michael Morpurgo's sea books, like Kensuke's Kingdom and Why the Whales Came. Also The Summer Book by Tove Jansson.

Sea writing - While holidaying in a small cottage by the sea on the island of Arran, I went for long walks along the bottom of the cliffs, and wanted to write a story about a boy collecting driftwood who finds a strange, almost drowned woman washed up on the rocky shore. I only ever got as far as him seeing her hair and realising with a jolt that it was hair, not seaweed, but just that one image is very vivid to me.

Eloise Williams said...

Wow - I've only just seen that people have responded! How wonderful. Thanks so much for your welcome and your comments. I'm going to make a point of reading all your favourite sea stories and I love the ideas for your own stories too.

The seaweed hair is a very vivid image!

We get lots of people making jewellery and art with their beach finds here in Saundersfoot. I have been known to buy and wear a few pieces myself. Jewellery that is... not art.

Thanks again for replying! Diolch xx

Eloise Williams said...

And I meant to say... 'Mermaid's Tears'. Sigh. I love it.