On my back patio rests a three-seater swing that faces a stand of lemon-scented and spotted gums. These very tall, straight eucalyptus trees emerge from the clay and granite that are typical of the hills above Perth in Western Australia. I’m fortunate enough to live in a cottage in my own private ‘park.’ When I’m plotting a novel, with a coffee to hand and Irish terrier nestled at my side, I spend an awful lot of time gazing sightlessly at this scene. In spring, the gums hum with bees gathering pollen from the flowers high overhead, but it all blends into the background when I’m scribbling ideas.
Some novelists plot out their whole book, scene by scene, before they write a single line of content. Others fly by the seat of their pants, making it up as they go along. I keep just ahead of myself, sometimes going down dark alleys leading nowhere, sometimes rushing forward smoothly with the flow. But I always begin with knowing where I want to end up, where my characters will be in relation to each other. How they get there is the unknown, fun part that makes writing such a buzz – challenging and sometimes scary, but such a buzz!