Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Back to Africa

I've noticed, re-reading the last few posts, that I have slipped horribily down the greasy road of self promotion.

So, enough shameless plugs for my books, and more about, well... me. And Mrs Blog.

I'm sitting in the Qantas Club (one of the few true perks - no, make that the only perk - of being a part time member of the Australian Defence Force is cheap membership of the club) waiting to board a flight to Johannesburg. It seems odd to be here without Mrs B beside me, and a little worrying given that I have no one here to hassle the check-in staff mercilessly until I get an exit-row seat with extra leg room.

Mrs B is joining me in South Africa on the weekend, and we will do some safari-ing after that.

I'm only going to be in Africa for 10 days on this trip, but the prospect of returning (and the lack of anything better to do in the next hour and a half) has spurred me to write something. Quite what, I don't know... In this respect, it's a bit like how I start writing a book. An idea, an inclination, and a bit of time on my hands.

Having submitted my final draft of my fifth book to my very, very good publishing friends Pan Macmillan, and having read through the proofs of the fourth book ('Safari', available in all good bookstores from August 2007, rrp $32.95 - sorry, couldn't help it), I've found myself a bit adrift lately.

It's odd, being immersed in two books and then having nothing to do except day-job work. Not that there's anything wrong with day-job work, as it's thanks to some very good friends in an un-named multi-national company that I'm going back to South Africa this time. I'm off to conduct some media training which is not, contrary to most peoples' belief, teaching people how to lie on camera - rather how to avoid telling everything they may know about a particular subject, and getting away with it.

OK. Rambling now. But to bring some substance to this post (a little rusty here), it's the pull of Africa. I can feel it. Corny, but true. My mind's been churning the last couple of days with ideas for book six and I want to start writing it right now. I put it down to Africa. However, I can't start writing just yet.

This trip's dual purpose (other than work) is to relocate our trusty Series III short wheelbase Land Rover, Tonka, from Zimbabwe to South Africa in order to get his gear box replaced and have him generally spruced-up in preparation for our next big trip to Africa, later this year.

So, I'll probably be too busy fretting over leaking gear oil for the next 10 days to concentrate much on the next book, but right now it's all I can think about. I can feel it growing inside me. The characters are taking shape and starting to have little conversations inside my head.

It's weird, but that's how it happens. A kind of madness, maybe. The characters flash across my brain every now and then, like TV flashbacks. Sometimes I catch what they're saying, or take note of the location they're in, but often it happens too quick. It's a glimpse of a locale or situation, rather than a full scene; a phrase rather than a complete sentence.

I can see the main guy, right now, in fact, and he's saying something, smiling, but I can't hear him. The leading lady's in the back of a safari vehicles (Land Rover, of course), but her head's turned away, looking at some animal or other, so I can't make out her face. It'll come.

The baddy's slotting a rocket propelled grenade into an RPG 7 launcher. Quite what, or who he's shooting at, or even the colour of his skin are unknown at this stage (he's wearing gloves and a ski-mask, perhaps to protect himself from the rocket's back blast).

There's water, and I know something's going to happen in Cape Town (quite simply because I've never been there, and Mrs B and I are planning on visiting friends who live there late this year or early 2008, so I'll have to write something about it).

And that's all I know, so far.

Well, in fact I know a little bit more, but I'm not going to tell it here. However, all I have is an idea, and that's enough to get me started. Thanks, Africa.