Ideas. They come to you. And then you know. They fit. They work. Genius…

I have this scene I’m currently writing where Ben and Hanna have arrived with Bjäkk at Hólar. It’s late and in the isolation of this school there are echoes (ghosts even) of a few weeks ago when Helen was here with the rest of her party. The thing is I’ve already introduced this other character – Andy – a friend of Helen’s and the way they were talking (you know how your characters, they kind of take over and speak for themselves…), well it was obvious that they knew each other from before. Huh? How…?!

And then it came to me. How to instantly capture what this group is about – the conservation holiday that they are about – and at the end of which Helen goes missing – it was simple. Andy and Helen are friends from uni – they go fell running together – he’s done UK based conservation holidays before and it is this together with Helen’s link to Iceland that has brought them here now. A couple of their fellow volunteers are ready made for me – it was obvious when once they had walked into the scene, sat down in the canteen and started eating soup and cold meats. They so wanted to be there. It was obvious. Natural.

Hannah Ball and Alice Cartwright. Now two years older at 29 and 19 respectively than when I first met them in The Mill back in Yorkshire. It’s nice to have friends there. I know their history. I know how they work. They can just exist in the scene with their own little history and back stories. Of course it won’t mean a thing to the reader of this novel, but it means something to me. I like it. It’s right.