Light is essential to my life. Light, to me, is life itself – it’s what gives me energy and strength and creativity. The long winter months are hard, but I get through them by taking long walks in the countryside with my beloved dogs, and by keeping the house well lit – soft, romantic lamplight and a roaring fire on the very coldest of days.
I’m a very visual writer, by which I mean I like to picture a scene in detail in my mind and then write about in such a way that the reader can be there, too, with the characters. And when I’m writing, one of the elements of the scene that always stands out to me is the level, and the source, of the light. And most frequently, I think about the African sun beating down, hot, dusky, sultry.
Many years ago I saw my first African sunrise, and it took my breath away. The colours! Fire red, burnished amber, the brightest yellow, soft pinks, deep purples, even, offset by the dark, stark landscape beneath. I have kept that scene in my mind’s eye ever since (oh to be a painter!) and it was a real inspiration for me in writing Burning Embers. So there are sunsets, there are sunrises; there are encounters in the gentle morning sun, heated exchanges under the glare of midday, and languid meanders in the afternoon warmth.
I like the interpretation of the poet Rumi:
If the sun were not in love, he would have no brightness,
the side of the hill no grass on it.
The ocean would come to rest somewhere.
The sun burns so brightly because he, too, is in love – thus the sun imbues those on whom he shines with that lightness of heart and willingness to connect to another; it fuels each lover’s burning embers.