I am a professional artist and this year I published my first novel THE PAINTING IN ROOM 48 (available Amazon).
I did not plan the story, the idea evolved over a period of time. You often read about how you should write about what you know and it seems so obvious because you then come from a position of strength. I know how to paint, and I have always been interested in the space that exists between a painting and the viewer which is filled with their own history.
Many years ago as a mature student at Portsmouth University. I wrote a thesis Art as a Complementary Healer, about the benefits of having all forms of art in hospitals. I had worked in hospitals, been a patient and visitor on numerous occasions and worked in a Crematorium so I was familiar with these places of trauma and dealing with patients and the bereaved .
Working as an artist most of my inspiration comes from listening to stories, especially on Woman’s Hour and I love to take what I have heard then create a piece of art. It has always been fascinating to watch visitors to my exhibitions and see how they connect with a painting and then enjoy telling me what they see and feel.
I decided to base the book on my painting ‘SHARE MY DREAM’. A surreal view of the South Downs, place it in a hospital room with just one bed, and tell the stories of a variety of patients who are admitted to that room and have an emotional connection to the painting and how that affects them and through fate and circumstance so their lives change forever.
Once I gave the characters names and ages I started to get to know them, make friends with them and the story just grew from there. It was also important that the book was uplifting.