13 May

One of my fellow writers had written a piece for us to critique about a missing child. The discussion came round to what you could and couldn’t imagine, and where you didn’t let your mind go.

I was re-telling the tale of when my three kids went missing in heavy fog – you imagine all sorts of horrible things, but you don’t actually let yourself believe them. I kept reassuring myself that no one would be mad enough to take three kids, and thankfully the story had a happy ending. When the mum who was meant to collect them from school forgot, someone else took them home, but hadn’t let me know. Phew.

At the weekend I spent quite a bit of time looking for a lost dog. Not mine, so although I was concerned it was in a different league. But I was pondering that panic, the fear, the helplessness. You only have to watch the news to know that for many people these moments, hours or days of panic don’t end happily, and sometimes end with things that we could hardly have imagined. Yet as a writer we have to try and imagine them – crime and horror writers more than most – but a lot of writers delve into the depths of what-ifs. How far are you willing to let your imagination go? Do you worry that you might be tempting fate?

And what of readers – do they feel like they are warding off evil by reading tales beyond what they care to imagine? Some do, but at the World Book Night event the book to go last was Sophie Hannah’s Little Face – in which a mother thinks her baby has been substituted. Was this too much for mothers to bear? I took a copy – I’ll let you know.

PS Dog wandered back 48 hours after she had disappeared.


One Response to “Unimaginable”

  1. Barbara May 13, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    Still steeling myself to
    read it too!


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