Friday, 2 December 2011

New for 2012

In the January issue of ELLE magazine, Naomi Wood, Morgan McCarthy and I are tipped as three of 2012's "most anticipated debut novelists". What a thrill. As a teen, ELLE was the first 'grown-up glossy' I ever bought (Just Seventeen never did it for me, nor the naughty More, the mag my classmates used to cluster round, giggling into their sleeves). I'd read it as my village bus bumped along the country lanes, with fields of moody bullocks looking on. I'd feel glamorous just for having a copy of ELLE in my hands, for it was like peering into another world. Not that I was dissatisfied with my own, but I had the curious nature (curious? Nosy) that I suppose all writers are born with, and the wish to live more lives than one.

Back to now. In the feature 'We've only just begun', each of us write on the subject of 'new.' My piece is about me quitting my job in a London advertising agency to become a chalet girl. And how it was during those months in the mountains that I realised what I really wanted to do. I've said elsewhere on the pages of this blog that I owe a debt of gratitude to the high peaks of the Portes du Soleil, for that is where I gently found my way with words. I never tire of celebrating what those months meant to me. There, I wrote a little poetry, the kind that only ever stays between the pages of a notebook and is quite happy doing so, and I began to plan a novel. After six months of chalet work, the time I write about in ELLE, my boyfriend and I decided to go back for another winter. We rented a tiny one-room appartment, with a balcony that just had room for a table and chair. That was the notoriously mild winter of 06/07, where the lower ski slopes were streaked with mud and peppered with pebbles, and the days were long and sun-filled. As winter ebbed to spring and snowboarders turned their last tricks in the park, or rolled down off the mountain and into the town's bars, I sat on our balcony and wrote. 

'A new view' is the title of my ELLE piece. And while I took that literally, decamping to a part of France where there were inspiring vistas at every turn, I do believe that we can change the view from our window at any moment. Watch the clouds clear. Spot a ray of light. For the mind is by far our nimblest mode of travel. We just need to work out where we want to go.