Amongst the woolly plebs

I am in rural Yorkshire, a few miles outside Harrogate, staying at The Granary, a delightful first floor loft conversion, where I am working flat out on The Northern Elements. This is a novel set on the other side of the Pennines in my native Blackburn and set in 1890, 1960 and 2015.

That very fact might suggest that careful research and meticulous plotting have been in order and that I have not been making things easy for myself with this triple time scale.

I finished Part One a little while ago and felt very pleased with it. Then as I moved things into a more recent period, I had a little crisis of confidence. Could I really deal with the complex threading I’d set up? Not for the first time in my time as a scribbler, I felt that a change of scene might kick start my ideas and, not for the first time, it has.

There’s nothing here. If you look at a Google map, there is a very big farm and acres and acres of farmland. There are wall-to-wall sheep hereabouts and a very handsome and aristocratic horse in an overcoat, who appears to be a tad embarrassed to be standing around amongst these woolly plebs. There are lots of crows and I’ve seen a kestrel and a buzzard. Beneath the apartment is a store housing more potatoes than I have ever seen in my entire life. All of which has nothing to do with what I’m writing.

I’m not sure why these excursions tend to be so productive. Perhaps it’s just that the mind is jerked out of unfamiliar grooves. Perhaps it’s the isolation. Perhaps it’s just that, having paid the rent, I may as well make it worthwhile.

Today, I have been immersed in the strange world of forensic pathology. It has given me the creeps and I hope it will put the willies up my readers in due course. For the moment I will say no more except that I’m looking to publish in early summer.

Share This Page:


Hello Ian, great to hear your stay is going well. Those excursions are productive for all the reasons you mentioned. Getting away from everything is at the back (or front, I suppose) of one’s mind. It’s like a big “Whew”, letting it all go, knowing that nothing else needs to be done but write. Knowing there will be no interruptions of any kind; particularly in this day and age where we can be besieged with constant distractions during the day. What a good feeling! And, I am sure there are places where the environment simply lends itself to writing. There is a beach community in Northern California called “Stinson Beach”. It is ideal for authors like yourself and screams creative energy. Enjoy!
I can’t wait to get the creeps and the willies this summer with your book. And, the lovely blanketed horse amongst the sheep is a delightful image (although he probably does not actually need the blanket).

He doesn’t, Julie. It’s 13 degrees (56F) here today and once the morning mist burned off, gloriously sunny. Back to Lincoln tomorrow. I’ve made excellent progress and can see where the story has to go. Sir Horse is staring at my window. He is my muse.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.