Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Doors into New Worlds - Annie West

Some time ago I posted this photo on my Facebook page and quite a few people liked it. I was interested as I've discovered I have a thing about doors. I have quite a few holiday photos of far away places that feature doors. Sadly, usually they're closed, even though I'd love to take a peek inside some of the fascinating buildings I see.

My Facebook experience taught me that I'm not the only one to like a good door. I know at least one other writer who has her own collection of such photos. Plus I've heard a photographer say that their photos of doors always sell well. 

So why is it that we find something attractive about doors? I'm not talking of course of the boring, plain doors that we have in our house, but doors with a bit of character or interest.

Maybe it's just because I'm a sticky beak and the door is, of course, the way into a whole new world. What do you think is behind this door in a French country village? Do you think the interior is just as quaint and old-fashioned as the facade or do you think the room within is sleek and modern? There's no way of knowing without a peep inside. But those studs on the bottom of the door make it interesting, don't they?

Or how about this one? It's such a serious door - obviously made to keep everyone out except those who had special permission to enter. On the other hand, I love the exquisite decorative metal work on the lock and the woodwork. This door is old, very old, and it makes me wonder about the craftsman who put so much loving effort to create a thing of beauty out of something so prosaic. And it wasn't just one craftsman. Someone spent a long time carving that stone arch to polished perfection.

In case you're wondering, this door is in Austria, in Salzburg castle which is a fascinating mix of dour fortress and attractive ornamentation.

I've decided that this fascination with doors isn't so much about appreciating the workmanship on them, but about doors as a symbol. For me they're like a call to adventure, an invitation to something new. Doors have always symbolised a crossing or transition point because, of course, that's exactly what they are.

As well as being a simple entry to a building or a way from one room to another, doors, particularly doors between the outside world and an inner space, represent something much more. 

When I posted the first photo on Facebook I did so because it was inspiring me that day as I approached a new book. The photo symbolised how I was feeling about this new story that I was tentatively investigating. I had some idea what to expect because I knew some details - like the hero and heroine and their original conflict, but much of the story was shadowy. I had no idea how the details were going to unfold, just that there was a story there. It felt like walking from my comfortable study into a brand new, exciting world where I was the observer and had yet to discover and understand the complex feelings of my characters. In a funny way, thinking of the new project in terms of that picture stoked my excitement in the project and eased my nerves over the fact I didn't know it all straight away.

Doors can be inviting, beckoning us from across the street, to come closer. Sometimes they're ornamented and attract people. Sometimes I'm sure it's just an intrinsic beauty or sense of mystery about the door and where it's set.

This one in Germany is beautifully decorated in celebration of the Christmas season. I've never seen such lovely garlands - far more enticing that a simple wreath on the door. Of course in this case, I'm sure the owners weren't simply interested in the holiday season. Their aim was also to beckon visitors closer to look and enter, and perhaps to buy. What a lovely way to catch the interest of passersby.

Much as I like the festive touches, though, I admit that this particular door, doesn't have the same impact on me as some others, that have a less studied charm.

How about this doorway? Is it just me or does the combination of ancient carving, solid wood door, and sleek, black cat, hint at some delicious mystery? Yes, maybe the mystery is just what's cooking inside, but to this writer the image is evocative and one I think I'll revisit in future as possible inspiration.

Doors represent opportunity and invitation. Who knows what marvellous experiences and fascinating people wait behind them? Some, like this one, have a definite sense of mystery, albeit on a domestic scale. Doors are about transition, not just from one place to another but from one reality to another. Remember the old tradition about the groom carrying the bride over the threshold? Partly it was originally to protect her from any nasty spirits thought to lurk there, but surely too it was in recognition of the fact that she was entering a new world - that of married woman, leaving her own home and becoming part of her husband's.

We speak of doorways or portals to the underworld. To death and rebirth. To new stages in our lives. Remember the days when 21 year olds were given keys? Or visiting dignitaries were given a key to symbolise that they had the freedom of the city? 

Is it any wonder an interesting door has the power to make us pause and wonder? I admit, I'm not usually thinking of the symbolism of the door, but admiring its uniqueness. Or maybe it's just my writer's inquisitiveness, that I want to know more of what's going on behind that door. What people live or work there? What are their secrets and celebrations? What makes them different and interesting? 

It's that sort of inquisitiveness that can occasionally give me a quiver of excitement as I find myself juggling ideas that might, if I'm lucky, one day meld into a new story to write. 

Do you find yourself attracted to interesting doors and gateways? Which would have the power to draw you closer? A carved wooden door in an old stone building? A lavishly decorated one that sparkled with light? A rusty old one, half open and  leading to a misty garden? 

I'll give a signed copy of one of my books to someone who leaves a comment on this post. Look out at the end of the day when I'll post the name of the winner.

Annie's latest book is out soon (August in stores but sooner online). IMPRISONED BY A VOW is about a marriage of convenience that brings a whole lot more than either Joss or Leila expected. 

Signed, sealed...forever!
Being sold into marriage by her stepfather is Leila's one chance to escape. But instead of freedom, Leila finds herself bound by deep passions ignited by her inscrutable new husband.
Australian billionaire Joss Carmody knows the rules of this game - he'll shower his new wife with diamonds and in return he'll use her land to expand his business. That's all he ever wanted from this exchange, but he hadn't banked on the attraction Leila awakens.
Then the one night that was supposed to slake their desire binds them beyond the signatures on their marriage contract...

You can find IMPRISONED BY A VOW at:
or check out the inspiration for the book at Annie's website.

Photographs in this post are copyright to Annie West.


Leni said...

Colorful doors get my attention along with doors that are decorated in an elaborate way. I don't feel a need to get closer because it's usually on private property:)

Mary Preston said...

Every now & then I'll be watching a movie or some such thing & there will be a massive brass studded door. I ALWAYS comment to my daughter that that is what I want out front at our entrance.

My daughter always comes back with that to have the door I'd need the massive castle or manor house to make it fit.

Oh well!!

Annie West said...

Hi Leni, I know what you mean about decorated doors. Some of them are fascinating, aren't they? I was intrigued by the last photo in this post. I'd never seen one painted like it before. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Annie West said...

Mary, it's a shame isn't it? Some doors are just so great at evoking a terrific atmosphere. Perhaps you need to build yourself a castle?

Helen said...


Those photos are lovely and yes I love big wooden doors and I too would love to have a peek inside :)

I am so looking forward to reding your new book I have it downloaded onto the e reader and it won't be long now before I can fall into it :)

Have Fun

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Annie, what a fantastic post. I LOVE the photos, especially that one of the black cat (you knew I'd say that, didn't you?). I think you're so right about a door always having that quality of mystery. What's behind it? Could it be something that will change our lives? It could quite easily be so! I think it's like the Open Sesame thing - that magical moment when anything could happen! Congratulations on the new release. Love that cover!

Annie West said...

Hi Helen, for some reason I can't seem to reply direct to your comment. Doors can be so fascinating, can't they? I'm glad someone else shares my fascination with unusual ones.

Hope you enjoy Leila and Joss's story. I love the idea of you having it ready to read.

Annie West said...

Hi Anna,

Yes, I did indeed guess you'd probably go for the door with the cat. He was a real character, I can tell you - followed us up out of the old town too.

Yes, I think it's that sense of the unknown and possibly of promise that appeals. There could be so many things behind a closed door or gate - just the thing to get your imagination working.

Yes, I love the cover too. One of my faves. Thank you!

Susanne Bellamy said...

Hi Annie,

One of my favourite Pinterest boards is "Doorways to the Imagination" because I find them intriguing too. There is such a promise of adventure and the anticipation of what could be on the other side.

I loved your "Captive in the Spotlight" which I treated myself to this holiday and can't wait for "Imprisoned" to be out. Best wishes for your new release.

Laney4 said...

I never really thought about doors before, so thank you for bringing this to my attention.
Looking at your examples made me realize I like foliage around doorways (although I've never had any myself). It feels (to me) like the leaves are "framing" the door, making the door look even more special.
Thank you for sharing!
I too read CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT and was swept away throughout the entire story. Enjoyed it tremendously and look forward to reading ALL your books (I'm working on it, LOL!).

Pat Cochran said...

That old rusty door, half open and leading
into a garden is calling my name! The mys-
tery of it all would draw me into the gar-
den. (BTW, one of my favorite books of all
time is The Secret Garden.)

Pat C.

penney said...

Hi Annie

I love the doors and that black cat I had a cat just like that one he lived for 22 years I sure miss him.
I'm looking forward to your new book it sounds so good!
Happy 4th Penney

Annie West said...

Hi Susanne, 'Doorways to the Imagination' sounds like a terrific board. I was amazed how that first picture I included really encapsulated how I felt about a new story - the anticipation and promise of adventure that you mention.

I'm so glad you love 'Captive in the Spotlight' and hope you enjoy 'Imprisoned by a Vow'. I like all my stories, but I have to say I'm particularly enjoying the ones coming out this year.

Annie West said...

Laney, I'm thrilled to hear you were 'swept away' by 'Captive in the Spotlight'. Wow! Good luck with reading your way through all my stories.

I like the photos with the foliage around the doors too. I always think of that saying about cottages with roses around the door as being particularly appealing and when you see them they are. Sometimes it's not so much about the door itself as the surrounds I suppose.

Annie West said...

Pat! I grew up with 'The Secret Garden'. It was a book my Dad shared with me and was always very special. To find a secret place and then bring it back to life was such a terrific thing. I can see why the rusty gate appeals so much.

Annie West said...

Hi Penney,

No wonder you miss your cat if he was with you for 22 years. That's wonderful. This one seemed such a wise fellow, interested in showing us his territory. I've never seen the like before.

I'm glad you like the sound of 'Imprisoned'. Hope you enjoy it. Have a happy 4th of July.

erin said...

what a fun post!!! Congrats Annie on the newest release! I'm definitely going to have to go check out your books :)

Annie West said...

Hi Erin,

I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It was lots of fun putting it together.

Hope you enjoy the stories!

Annie West said...

Just dropping by to announce a winner for my giveaway. Congratulations PENNEY! You've won a signed copy of one of my books. Just email me at annie(at)annie-west(dot)com with your postal address and the name of the book you'd like and I'll search out a copy for you.


penney said...

Thanks Annie, I just sent my info to you.
Happy 4th everyone!

TashNz said...

Hi Annie, your posts are so inspiring. I've never thought about a door more than a common door. Your photos are outstanding. Please dont include me in the draw, I'm lucky enough to have read this fab book (thank you). Just stopping by to say I loved the post :)