For the first Musing of March, BestSelling authors take a trip down memory lane, and describe some personal memories that have, or could, spark a memorable journey of the imagination.
I remember when I visited Istanbul, I watched the golden hour and decided to include it in my upcoming novel, Unveiled. The ending is pretty much what I experienced, as I closed my eyes and imagined my character seeing the same sunset.
Every evening, Amal sat at the pier across the street from Firat’s house, facing the Bosporus, watching the sun go down behind the Topkapi Palace, wishing he could return. Each time, she recalled his words. I don’t know how many sunsets we will see till we meet, but whenever you see the sun setting, just think I’m thinking about you. Her life was frozen, just as Üsküdar was frozen in time—the ruins, old mosques and palaces—all locked in past centuries. Every evening she stared at the sun. She saw people passing by, walking to their homes, men selling different teas, corn, and chestnuts on carts, playing songs on the speaker. She saw the ferries and boats crossing between Europe and Asia. Was she the only one who had no harbour? Would her soul keep wandering in the dark, looking for the light—looking for Nür, their universe?Visit Samreen Ahsan’s webpage for news on the upcoming Unveiled.
My first memory is a false one. I have a vivid memory of being around two years old and standing in the dining room of the house I grew up in with my maternal grandmother. That might not seem like something I would immediately know was wrong (except for the age maybe), but my maternal grandmother rarely visited and my memory has the living room curtains on the wall of the dining room for some reason.
The reason I plan to use this in a story some day is to start with the idea of a false memory and how the human mind often doesn’t remember things quite right. It would be some kind of crime/mystery story, but I haven’t figured out what, which is why I haven’t written it. That and lack of time.
Memory plays a large role in my three Eastern Front books, as they’re based on the story of my father-in-law, Maurice, fighting in the Red Army and in the underground resistance during the Second World War. His memories of the bad food, the despair, and the retreat of the first year of the war included a vivid description of soldiers marching until their boots wore off. Hence the title of volume one, Army of Worn Soles.
Memory of Maui’s southern coast led to this scene in my first Hawaiian Storm mystery, Torn Roots:
Even though Rowan’s legs were almost as long as Sam’s, she struggled to keep up as he strode along a hiking trail. She noticed a sign indicating a waterfall ahead, but she was too preoccupied with trying to hide her face from the tourists on the trail to register the name. As soon as they were out of sight of anyone else on the trail, Sam took her hand and pulled her between wild sugarcane half again as tall as her. They pushed their way through until they reached what Rowan thought of as a normal forest, with tall trees whose branches made a canopy overhead, and thick bushes with leaves of every imaginable size and shape crowding the ground.From Torn Roots.
Birds twittered overhead. Sometimes she glimpsed red birds that looked like the cardinals she knew from Canada. Were they protesting the two humans’ passage or welcoming them?
There is also a memory that I think would, eventually, make a good starting point for a story.
I was in my twenties, working for pitiful wages for a start-up venture run by two men younger than me, in a part of the city that would have to clean up its act considerably to be called “sketchy.” It was evening, the sky that purplish-blue that fooled you into thinking you could still see details outdoors, and I was talking to this beautiful young woman, my age, who wore a tattered t-shirt and VERY short shorts. We were discussing plans to meet again the next morning to pursue some fanciful business idea. But all the time, as we discussed possible clients and what we each could do, all I was really thinking of was kissing her.
You know your favorite BestSelling authors have a habit of turning memories and fantasies into memorable, un-put-downable stories and novels. Keep coming back for more unforgettable reading.