Recently lots of surveys have asked why so many people want to be writers.
“You can work in your pyjamas!”
“You never have to worry about bad-hair days!”
“You can spend your day beside the Custard Creams tin”.
Excellent answers all, but I have my own: Writing is the best adventure you can have without actually coming eye to eight eyes with a gigantic Amazonian spider.
I’d better explain.
In my novel, ‘Rampage!’, Rose, a feisty London schoolgirl, heads into the Amazon rainforest in search of her missing father.
Except that I’ve never been to the rainforest.
And so, to tell her story, I had to tie on my jungle-writing boots and stomp into the greenery myself. From my desk, that is, using the Internet, television documentaries and books from the local library.
But what a trip! Sitting on my wooden chair, I toured the Manaus Opera House, gateau-pink and green, in the heart of the sweltering jungle. I discovered that Potoo birds look like Muppets and that anacondas can swallow a pig whole. (Poor pig!) I spied bird-eating tarantulas on tree trunks, and tribes, deep in the forest who’d lived there for hundreds of years. I even caught the sparkle of El Dorado, the city of gold.
Which has got to make writing the best job there is – a daily invitation to take an epic adventure, wherever and whenever you want – without ever finding a Brazilian Wandering Spider scooching up your pyjama leg.
And all without upsetting a sunbathing scorpion, or accidentally paddling in caiman-infested water.
Which makes writing an epic adventure for the writer, as well as the reader. , long before the book is there on the bookshelf. So, you see, my reason for being a writer is that it lets you have an epic adventure any time and anywhere you want. And all without leaving home. Which is marvellous, because you don’t find scorpions under leaves here nor caimans in the park pond. Best of all, there are absolutely, most definitely, no Brazilian Wandering Spiders scooching over the floor.