An article about Picasso's painting of Guernica, seen in a Spanish newspaper, became the inspiration for The Traveller and The Rose, out now from Endeavour Press.
Picasso's giant canvas is a powerful anti-war statement and when it was revealed, during the Spanish Civil War, its impact was shocking. I researched the painting, and began to think about writing a story of love and war, set in Spain.
From that first inspiration, it has taken 5 years of writing, rewriting and editing to bring it to publication. First, I draft a version of the story with all the twists and turns, red herrings and cul-de-sacs, and then I begin to understand where the real heart of the story lies, and which of the many emerging stories will be told first.
Additional characters crop up along the way and are fleshed out, and in the case of Fernando and Paco, become major players. The location itself becomes another character; the characteristics of a small Andalucían town, in the burning sun of the dusty red heat of war. My research took me to Spain, and I talked to many real characters in Andalucía and ate tapas with them, and drank sangria.
I can get hopelessly lost in research, and wander happily through fascinating and diverting stories for months, but eventually, I get back to the story, add more subplots and original tales gleaned from my research and I rewrite. Several times.
There are scenes removed from this final version; scenes of Kit Brown’s English family during WWII, Rosa’s journey through WWII, as well as Katerina Torres’ journey to England to rescue the child. I didn’t want to detract from the love story between Kit and Rosa; I needed to hold the focus on them; the other characters’ stories will be told in due course.
The Traveller and The Rose was originally called The Ties That Bind, but the characters of Kit Brown and Rosa Saragossa needed an eponymous title. The Ties That Bind will become the title for the sequel, which has been in my head for a couple of years and will spill out onto the page during the next twelve months. At least, the first draft will.