Here's how it went this week with a local journalist to whom I had sent a press release about a play:
Extract from phone conversation #1:
Journalist (after patiently bearing with me about the play and then asking the strangely apparently more interesting personal questions which I managed to deflect): So where did you get your inspiration for the play? From things you see in the village?
Me (wisely onto such journalistic tricks, intent on keeping things more literary and cleverly deflecting): Umm. Well, it doesn't quite work like that. You have to have an idea brewing already, and only then will something in the outside environment spark that idea off into a story.
She rings me again. Extract from phone conversation #2:
Journalist (after probing more deeply about my life and my 'hobbies'): So when you go walking round the village, and down the meadows like you said, is that where you get your inspiration?She rings me a third time. Extract from phone conversation #3:
Me (getting slightly worried now): Umm, well, as I explained, there has to be an idea already there...
Journalist: So what is it you like about living in the village? Is it the people?She rings me a fourth time. Extract from phone conversation #4:
Me (thinking of course of the paper's readers which include my neighbours!): Well yes of course!
Journalist: So it's the people in the village who give you your inspiration?Here's an extract of the article which appeared yesterday, titled 'Are you a player on Elizabeth's suburban stage?':
Me (laughing): I'm not telling you who I put in my stories! (And realising at once I've fallen into the trap)
Journalist: And do you sit in the village cafe and watch people go by?
Me (still recovering and so not concentrating): Well, I have done... (in truth only once or twice)
The next time you take a stroll through the village you could unwittingly become a character in a book or a play. That's because Elizabeth has a unique method when it comes to creating her characters. She simply sits at her favourite cafe watching people go by and imagines what it must be like for them. The figures are then transformed into three dimensional creations in her stories... She likes nothing better than sitting outside the village cafe with a notebook and pen and doing a spot of people watching.Ha!