Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Search of Serendipity

I am always amazed at the serendipitous moments in real life and in writing my stories. Many, many times, strange 'coincidences' happen and things work out in mysterious ways -- much like Robert the Bruce finding and watching the spider in that cave in Ireland when he was hiding. According to legend, it was observing the spider's relentless efforts to weave its web and inspire the Bruce onto bigger and better things....(If you magnify this photo, there's an itsy bitsy spider in the corner of one of the panes of stained glass in the Abbey at Dumfernline...)

Anyway...I believe that these moments happen and make things/my stories better. When I was writing my novella THE CLAIMING OF LADY JOANNA, I decided to use evil Prince. . er. . King John as a character but the story had to be set in Springtime in England. Well, heck, I said, as I wrote the novella and researched it as I was writing it. Amazingly, I discovered that the ONLY year King John actually held an Easter court in England was. . . the year in which I set my story!

Those kinds of things have happened lots of times in my life and my writing. Serendipity. Moments and events that I couldn't have planned but are special.

When I'd planned my first trip to Scotland, something I'd dreamed of for years and years, I ended up in the hospital. I begged my doc to let me go (once they couldn't find anything wrong with me) and I ended up joining the rest of the group a day late. Because of that, I flew to Scotland on my own, took a train across and into the Cairngorms and into a small town called Pitlochry. I also met a number of people I would never have met and was even helped from the train station by a nice young man who showed me around the town and found a ride for me (on a Sunday when no taxis were available). Pure serendipity.

One of the best examples of serendipity occurred during my first trip to Scotland when I stayed on with 2 friends - Sue-Ellen Welfonder and Lisa Trumbauer - to travel out to the Highlands. As we were on our way back to Glasgow, we passed by the sign for this castle I'd never heard of: Dunstaffnage. So, as Sue-Ellen fills me in on the history of it, we toured, climbed onto the battlements, walked the acres around it, all the time never dreaming that it would turn into a romance novel for me a few years later.

So, what's this all about? Well, I'm planning another trip to Scotland and I am in search of serendipity. I'll be driving all over the Highlands, visiting the islands and lots of places in between. And I'm hoping that something will click, something will ping, something from the cosmic universe to point me in a direction or inspire me. I suspect, with scenery like this-- -- it will happen!


While Terri is busy planning the trip, her latest Harlequin Historical - THE CONQUEROR'S LADY - is hitting the shelves. After beginning the story in her HH Undone, A NIGHT FOR HER PLEASURE in June, the Knights of Brittany return as Giles find his newly-betrothed wife marrying someone else! Visit Terri's website for more information about her upcoming novels and novellas..

(okay - yesterday in work, we were talking about Elton John's TINY DANCER and how it was sung in a movie that none of us could remember; as I'm writing this blog, I changed the channels and came upon ALMOST FAMOUS as the whole group in the bus is singing along with TINY DANCER! Serendipity in action!)


Dorthy said...

You seem to have a lot of serendipitous moments in your life, that is really cool.

I have to admit I'm so jelouse right now. I want to go to Scotland!!!! I'm actually going, traveling by of your actually...Taming the Highlander.

I figure my trip is going to be exciting, filled with adventure, mystery and romance. I hope yours is too.
Even if the only mystery you encounter is the mystery of what is over the next hill or around the next bend, and the romance is that of the country itself, wooing you with its glorious splendor.

Cheri2628 said...

I just got back from my first trip to England, and now I want to go to Scotland. I am a big historical romance fan, so I loved visiting England. I have read a lot of Scottish Highlander books(yours included), so I simply must go there next!

Mari said...

I love Scotland! I lived in Glasgow for 4 years and I loved it. The countryside was the best though!

Terri Brisbin said...

I'd love to hear about some of your favorite places in Scotland -- if you've been there. I'm driving myself so I have some flexibility and would love to see some new sights.

I've not spent much time in Glasgow -- so any hints about that would be appreciated...

Terri B

Mari said...

Terri, Edinburgh is very picturesque, and has castles and a ton of history. It is extremely hilly, so wear comfortable shoes.
Glasgow has blue collar origins based on the river Clyde. Sometimes people skip Glasgow because of its somewhat unsavory reputation (because it is blue collar I think), but I really liked it. Edinburgh, although beautiful and full of historical significance, can be a bit touristy. By that I mean lots of shops with cheap knick knacks like mugs and generic kilts.
What I liked about Glasgow is that it feels like a city where real Scots live, and really not very touristy.
You really must visit the pubs while you are there. The West End is where the University area is and there are many pubs catering to the student crowd.
Suchiehall street is where you can do some shopping. Some nice restaurants and pubs there as well.
Other highlights - The Cathedral, Glasgow School of Art, City Chambers, the Arboretum, Kelvingrove Museum...Lots to see and do.
You must go to a local restaurant called Jack McPhee's. That's where I tried battered sausages with a side of beans for the first time and fried candy bars.
Watch out for old firm soccer games between the Celtics and Rangers. The Scots get very involved in their soccer games and it can get rowdy!

Best of all is the Scottish people. They are a lot of fun and were very welcoming.
Once you tell them you like Braveheart they know you are a kindred spirit!