I spent the '60s following the adventures of the governess sent to tutor English to the poor little children of some Greek God, who naturally owned a gob-smackingly glorious Greek Island and so on. That was much more exciting than pot! And remember, Mills and Boon in the '60s was very tame compared to the rampant sex between the crisp pages these days!
Anyway, my mother was looking over my shoulder (as mothers do), concerned at the risque reading matter. She always had her nose in Jean Plaidy or Taylor Caldwell. I had those auspicious authors to discover and discover I did, and hopefully I've learned a little of their style by osmosis. I moved on to Catherine Cookson, Georgette Heyer and Mazo de la Roche. I loved those epic family dramas - Poldarks of Cornwell, the Jalna series... not to mention the wild settings, so strange compared to my tame little town. Oh wow! Still love them. Hemingway and Gore Vidal were to come later, then I moved on to my current favourites, Anita Shreve, Paullina Simons et al, always staying true to all those who came before and shape my writing today.
Back to the '60s. My mother used to ask me - why do you read that trash (M & B)? I answered, sort of honestly, that I loved to learn about exotic places. Growing up in a Queensland country town with a population of 300 (and that was including the horses and cows!) my exposure to other cultures was limited to say the least. My mother thought about it and was quiet. Maybe she felt responsible for bringing me up in such a backwater. So as I devoured Mills and Boon stories, I was fascinated by the wonderful European locales, I promise, and my fascination continues.
Which brings me to today. I love reading good stories with multiple settings (I am a multi-tasker after all!) I am sitting here blogging, listening to News TV, minding 2 doggies, planning my tutorials for today and wondering what's cooking for dinner while in the back of my mind I'm thinking about editing my NaNo story and tidying up a couple of short stories for Fast Fiction magazine (all with interesting locations, of course!) Hmm. Does that mean I don't do anything properly? No, I don't think so...
My multi-tasking includes having so many things I would like to do when I 'retire.' And running a B and B is one of just many dreams. Yeah, I know, glorified housework, but I think about all the interesting travellers I would meet and I could practise all my new recipes on them, but the best bit is that I could close my doors when I wanted to and fly off to somewhere exotic to have more stories to tell. That is, if the B and B made any money, which I guess is debatable, as I'd be so busy reading and writing, I'd forget to do that housework!
True to my 'Staycation' (see previous entry), I went driving to Brisbane's Northern Beaches (which all have English names - Scarborough, Margate...go figure...) on the weekend and saw some wonderful houses in the Old Queenslander style (which probably originated in England too!). Perfect for a B and B, and overlooking Moreton Bay to boot! Dreamy views, dreamy houses. With plenty of room to write in, I'm sure...
Which brings me to the book I am currently reading, well, one of many, I am a multi-tasker after all. Written by Monica McInerney it's called Greetings from Somewhere Else. Have you read it? Well, it ticks all the boxes for me - great settings: Australia and Ireland - great story with running a B and B involved. I'm loving it. The type of novel I aspire to write.
It fills a gap until I can get to the Greek Islands!