By the time you read this, I’ll be on this vessel. The Independence of the Seas. I love cruising and watching my family have a great time and there’s nothing more relaxing than being on a cruise ship. If you’ve never tried one, do it if you can! It’s an experience.
Where else can you be treated like a queen? Because it doesn’t happen at home, I can tell you! At home, I’m chief maid, laundry person, cook and nurse. Not to mention chauffeur, homework advisor, birthday rememberer (is that a word?) and a whole lot of other job titles.
But not queen.
The one thing I love the most about being on board, is the people watching. I have one or two favourite spots, overlooking the promenade that runs down the heart of the ship and I can fully indulge in my favourite hobby, whilst I sip my tea and eat the cookies that have been made especially for me (queen, remember?)
I go all Sherlock. Analysing everything about them to see what I can define about them. I give them names, I imagine what job they have and how they are with their friends. Whether they have an accent, what kinds of things they like doing – I create their story. (I also get to do this out dog walking every day. People wear some weird things when they dog walk and let’s not forget that chic accessory of a bag of dog poop!)
Because all good writers need great characters for their stories and they have to be fully-fleshed out individuals. Not just a name, an age and a backstory of something tragic. They have to be a person. With quirks and traits, not just physical description. I have to know who they are. What their dreams are. Their secrets. Their fears. I have to know the one thing they would never tell anyone else. I have to know who broke their heart, or who betrayed them, or what their opinions are on anything from Trump v Clinton, down to whether they like to eat Brussels Sprouts!
People are weird and fascinating. Even my own family are weird and fascinating. (Here’s my husband and one of my sons. Told ya. Weird.) Six individuals who have all been living together for years and each of them different and unique, with strengths and weaknesses that would surprise a lot of you.
People watching is an endless fascination, because there are so many different stories. Each person will inspire something wonderful when I see them, surprising me and letting me store that fact away, so that when I’m thinking up new characters, I can take ickle bitty things from each one, to create someone new.
If I could get away with just people watching on the boat, I’d be a very happy woman, but there’s so much to do, I’m probably off ice skating, or playing golf, or eating. (yeah, probably eating, to be honest!)
Do you like people watching? Who is the most unique character you have ever seen? I’d love to hear about them!
Louisa’s next title, Christmas With The Single Dad is out December 1, 2016 and is available from all good stockists.