How did I spend my weekend? Was I madly writing my next novel, or pulling out weeds in the garden, or even working through the embarrassingly high pile of ironing in the laundry basket? No, I have a confession to make - I was building a model. You can see the result in the picture above, based on Chris Nielsen's enchanting illustrations for the covers of MR CHEN'S EMPORIUM and THE JADE WIDOW.
When I was a child, I could spend hours making houses out of Lego. The size was limited only by the number of blocks in our Lego box. I loved drawing house plans too. I yearned to design buildings. But it was not to be. Just as I couldn't become a fashion designer (because I couldn't sew), I couldn't be an architect either. Why? Because I was (and remain) hopeless at maths. Can you imagine the kind of houses I would have designed? They might have looked gorgeous in the drawings, but the walls would have been wonky, the ceilings irregular and the windows ill-fitting.
So I've sublimated the unfulfilled architectural ambitions into my writing and the result is a collection of buildings playing a starring role in my novels, including the Emporium, the Old Manse, the Emporium Hotel and Millerbrooke House.
I'm never happier than when I'm making a 3D model of a building. I suppose it takes me back to the Lego days. This past weekend I sat down with cardboard, scissors and glue and merrily put the emporium together. I didn't have a plan, I just let things unfold (pardon the pun). At the last moment I decided to add the Jade Widow and the porcelain urns.
My next project (which might have to wait until I've emptied the ironing basket) will be Amy's Emporium Hotel. I'm looking forward to making that fairytale turret a reality!
P.S. You can read about my sewing disasters here.
October 14, 2013