I’m going to ask a question and the answer will be cleverly slipped into my blog, so listen closely Grasshopper.
Some things stay with you. When I was about 10 my family went to play tennis at a set of courts in the back blocks of the Gold Coast. This was in the days when the holiday strip was not as gaudy and glitzy as it is now. My parents loved to play tennis and they told me to watch my little brothers, 8 and 5 and my sister 3. Behind the courts was a stretch of land backing onto a creek. There were white sand dunes, scrubby trees and it was the perfect place for us to play (in those far off days when kids ran wild most of the time). This photo is me at 11, thinking I am very cool.
As the eldest I was used to organising the games and I always saw myself as a sort of hero character so we’d play these long involved games with my younger siblings as my army, following orders, fighting great battles against enemy foes.
While running down one high white sand hill through the hollow into the next we left my little sister behind. Halfway up the next dune I turned around to find she’d run through the deepest part of the hollow and the sand, which appeared to be solid, had given way. She was knee deep in some sort of sticky sand-clay mix and couldn’t get out. Having seen plenty of Tarzan movies, I immediately thought of quicksand.
A real emergency! I told my brothers to stay back, afraid that they’d get trapped too, and edged forward. The sand’s surface broke up under my feet. It was cold and smooth and wet, and I didn’t know what was under there. My eight year-old brother (who was almost as big as me) came and grabbed my arm to pull me out if I got stuck. I managed to grab our little sister’s arm and hauled her out of the sticky sand-clay which did not give her up easily. Meanwhile the five year-old brother danced on the edge of the danger zone in desperate to help and likely to get himself into trouble.
End of story, she was fine and we kept on playing. I don’t think we even told our parents about it, because by the time they finished playing tennis our game had moved on and that was old news. But I will always remember that sense of something under the ground opening up and proving dangerous.
In King Rolen’s Kin power seeps up from the land’s heart, infecting people and animals. Only those trained to contain this power go near Affinity Seeps. Now you see how a childhood adventure can be the inspiration for something in a story many years later.
These days I don’t order my younger brothers and sister about to play out my great battles, I have a cast of characters and they play out the battles in my books.
The giveaway question is — In King Rolen’s Kin what are the places called where power seeps up from under the ground? Answer in the comments on this post. We’ll give it until Saturday and then put all the right answers in a virtual hat and draw two out. Dan can announce the winners on the Saturday Post.
Meanwhile, have you used events from your childhood or adult life as triggers for stories?