Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christina Hollis - Writing In Winter

It's often said that other countries have a climate, England just has weather. That's been very true in 2012. The year started with the country stricken by drought. Then it started to rain, and didn't stop for weeks at a time. Now we're heading towards the coldest months of the year, we're all hoping it doesn't turn to snow. We've been snowed in for days on end during both the last two winters. That's always a hazard when you live off the beaten track,  but it had been twenty years since such severe weather happened here. The good thing about spending long period inside is means there's plenty of time for writing. I always keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas and the short, dark days of winter are the perfect excuse to review them and plan the next year's projects. A diary would be ideal for this: unfortunately, each January 1st I start one with high hopes, only to become dispirited by the number of blank spaces I have to turn past each time I remember to pick it up. I've solved this problem by getting a  large book of blank pages and calling it a journal, rather than a diary. There's plenty of space for pictures and recipes as well as notes, and there aren't pre-printed dates to induce guilt. I like to include lots of different sources of inspiration, and it's lovely to be able to look back on things when it's too dark and cold to venture outside.

Despite all the rain this year we did manage a few walks in the surrounding countryside. OH took the top photograph on one of our rambles through the Gloucestershire countryside. He had to snap the scene between torrential downpours, then tweak the image to make the sky look lighter than it actually was, to give more contrast. He was aiming for the Old Master look, and I think it turned out pretty well, don't you?

What's your favourite source of inspiration at this time of year? There's a warming recipe from my winter journal for a comment picked at random!

Christina Hollis has written both Historical fiction and Modern Romance/Presents for Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd, as well non-fiction for national magazines and prize-winning short stories. Her current release, Lady Rascal is available for download from  AmazoniTunes  and many other retailers, while her next book,  Winter of the Wolf, will be published in early 2013. She loves to hear from readers - you can contact her through her website or her blog.


Jeanne M said...

Hi Christina!

My inspiration this time of year are my grandhildren! They see the wonder of the holiday season that we often miss in our own hectic lives.

It seems that this time of year that so many of us are distracted by all the distractions around us that we forget to appreciate small things like the first snow fakes falling and covering the lawn and miss seeing the joy in a child's eyes as they build their first snowman.

This year I hope that everyone takes just a moment to enjoy the small pleasures of life that is all around them!

Pat Cochran said...

For me, it's family! From Honey to our chil-
dren to our grandchildren, to our sibs and
their families,and all our close friends.
They make up a great, united entity. Despite
all the distractions around, they remain near
and very dear to us!

Pat C.

Annie West said...

Christina, my inspiration in winter is a combination of things - going for brisk walks and then snuggling up with a hot cup of something and reading other people's books! That combination of activity and using my imagination to participate in another fictional world really seems to inspire me. Good luck with the diary next year!

Christina Hollis said...

Jeanne, those are lovely images. I love Christmas productions, too. Whether the little ones are dressed as shepherds or Christmas elves, it always brings a lump to my throat!

Christina Hollis said...

There's a definite family theme developing here, Pat! When the days are short it's great to catch up with those we love - and I'll bet the hospitality at your house is something to behold!

Christina Hollis said...

Definitely agree with the brisk walks and curling up with a hot drink and a book, Annie, although as I've just won two free Mars bars in a promotion, I'll have to concentrate on the brisk walking for a while!

Elanor said...

Hi Christina - what a beautiful photograph! I love the late autumn and early winter seasons, when the cooler, crisper air gives a welcome relief from summer but the heavy snowfall is yet to arrive. The uni I'm attending is like one big botanical park, so frosty walks onto campus in the mornings are definitely an inspiration, but I also enjoy using prompt tables and writing challenges when I don't want to have to put my walking boots on!

Christina Hollis said...

Hi Elanor - thanks for commenting. I've never used a prompt table - I must try that some time. One of my favourite aids to concentration is #1k1hr on Twitter - the only problem is, if I'm not careful I find that a two-minute log-in to Twitter ends up taking a twenty minute bite out of my writing time!