"Welcome to England."
And... welcome back to my blog. I know it has been a while. I've been a careless mistress these last many months and I apologize. I'm ready to re-enter your lives, if you'll have me. And I come to you with some fun, and funny, and downright crazy stories from my own journeys right now. I also bring to you the voice of my daughter.... who is posting her part of the trip on her own blog, THE DAILY BRAT (name chosen by her!)
I thought it appropriate that she should blog as well, since the reason for this trip is to inspire and do research for my next book - a new take on Pride and Prejudice. I've added the brief synopsis to my WORLD OF MY BOOKS page of my website. As I've yet to come up with a suitable title, let's just call it - ANNA'S PRIDE for now.
Already we have been here for five days. Such full and busy ones, in fact, that neither Faith (my daughter) nor I have had a chance to kick off this blog-fest. And, if they are any indication of what's to come, I'm not sure how many posts we will make before all is done and we are on the return trip to the U.S. in mid-August. I'll try to tweet moments out every now and then (@dwilsted) or add your email to the RSS feed at the top/right of this page to get an automatic notice when I have posted something new.
For now I am thrilled to report that we are basically over our jet-lag now. The trip was incredibly easy... certainly not what I was expecting with a two huge bags, me and my ten year old, and a red-eye. My ever supportive husband, Jeff, met us on the other side (he had just completed a business trip to Europe) and is staying for a week to help me with this first part of the research.
None-the-less, I find when I am in research/inspiration mode I am mostly living in my own brain. No one but another writer could probably understand the thrill I felt when I walked through Leavesden Studios (where they filmed most of the Harry Potter movies - for its context re: my book, be sure to read the synopsis.) Suddenly, faced with the amazing artistry required for creating the sets and props, the hero in my story came to life in front of my eyes.
Should I write, should I look around, should I take photos. I was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of inspiration in front of me. In fact, I did all three.... and then I talked with people, interviewed a prop craftsman who worked on HP (Adrian Getley), and recorded my thoughts on everything for processing at some future point when I return back to the very un-magical world of my own home.
How could I blog any of this, I wondered? Well, I'm still getting my head around it, but here's what I have figured out so far; the more I experience, the more my character will experience. So, for example, last night we landed in a rather dodgy (like my British there;>) Inn. My daughter, whom I have apparently spoilt to the point where she was in tears by this, couldn't imagine staying. We lasted a night, which was fine.... and over a brilliant dinner at a local pub called, the George (p.s. thanks Spencer for turning things around for us), the linkages to the storyline began to flow through my brain faster than the lovely local beer I was drinking....
Anna and her daughter, Tiffany, would end up at that hotel as well. They would get in a huge fight. Tiffany (much older than my ten year old daughter) would storm off, and Anna, done with her tirades, would let her. Later she would get worried and track her to the pub where she would find Tiffany sitting with the hero, Malcolm. The argument forgotten, Tiffany would enthusiastically tell her mother all about Malcolm's invitation to stay with him nearby.....
I am often asked how I write and I can give no clearer description than this example above. It comes to me by living it and molding the experiences I have, like a sculptor does with clay, into something new.
It's been too long since I have gotten my hands dirty like this and I am loving every moment of it. Won't you come join me on my own journey inspired by my love of writing? I'll write again as soon as I can.....
“Now I’ll be able to use my English accent and people will understand me.”
To be fair, my daughter does have a unique ability to mimic accents and voices. This isn’t always a good thing as we’ve had a few awkward moments when she was younger and people may have thought she was making fun of them. Her favorite accent is a Northern English one. I believe she learnt it at an early age while watching a kids show on t.v.- but it never ceases to amaze me how spot on she is with it.
And, indeed, she will get to try it out in person this summer. True to my New Year’s Resolution, we started off 2014 by making the reservation for our trip to England this summer. I have a million ideas for our itinerary battling for attention in my head right now. But since the purpose of the trip is to do research for my next book, this sets the priority. Fortunately for both me and my daughter, the trip is based around a mother and daughter’s visits to competing tourist locations of Jane Austen and Harry Potter.
There are so many possible sites for each of these that even that will be difficult to cull. The filming of Harry Potter and the many Jane Austen stories has covered many English locales. But the point of the story will be the mother’s conflict between literary pride and commercial prejudice. Expect some romance thrown in there (for my character, not me:>) and it is a story I am really eager to write. It also is a great way to prioritize which of these many locations we visit.
I read somewhere that having a goal is a great way to focus a trip. At the same time the author wrote that while the goal might help create the itinerary, the real journey takes place in the experiences, planned or unplanned, along the way. So, while we will be excited to visit friends in England, and eager to finally go to some places my daughter has on her bucket list (like Highclere Castle, Stonehenge and The British museum for the Rosetta Stone,) the purpose of our trip is to experience our mother/daughter time, and allow it to inform the manuscript. We may even blog about it from each of our POVs... a record, so to speak, of this personal and emotional journey for each of us.
In the meantime, I’ll try to share our itinerary with you as it grows, and I’ll look forward to your suggestions. I like to hope it will be a Journey Inspired by Love and enjoyed by many.
Happy New Year! Here’s to your own Journeys Inspired by Love in 2014.
Have you visited any must-see Harry Potter or Jane Austen sites? Do you have any big journeys (literal or metaphorical) planned for 2014? I love to hear from my blog readers! And to prove it I'll give a copy of any one of Daniel Davidson's Travel Free Guides to one lucky commenter during the month of January. Leave your comment and then check back at the end of the month to see if you won. Good Luck and Happy Journey.
P.S. In case you haven't found him yet, Daniel Davidson is a travel writer with great advice on saving money while traveling. Check him out at his website: http://www.freetravelideas.com/
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