When we moved from the UK to live in rural Mallorca, my intention was to become a freelance writer, working from home. Our finca seemed like the perfect environment for inspiration, creativity, and other writerly stuff.
What’s now our third bedroom (and winter storage area for garden furniture), in an annexe adjoning the main house, was originally destined to be The Writing Space. It offered lots of benefits, with its own shower room and loo, door opening onto a small covered terrace, and lovely views of the far side of our valley.
Our old pine desk was moved into the room immediately – along with everything else that didn’t seem to have a place in our home at the time. We’d already had plenty of electrical plug sockets installed, awaiting that day when electricity was connected, and we’d be able to plug in computer, printer, scanner, etc.
But it soon became clear that this was not a room in which to spend much time in the winter: mould began to grow on the legs of the desk and we realised that the dampness of this small unheated, uninsulated room would be equally as bad for a computer and other sensitive stuff, such as electrical goods . . . and me!
Not Driven to Distraction
The small room at the centre of the house – grandly dubbed ‘the library’ – became my writing space. With five sets of doors leading off this room, the wall space for furniture is limited and, by necessity, the desk (no longer sporting its fetching furry green coating), was positioned facing a wall. It’s probably just as well: the combination of lovely views, cats doing amusing things, and the birdlife in our garden, would surely be a distraction. . . .
With my focus firmly on the computer, I’ve written countless articles and reviews that have been published in magazines, newspapers, and on websites. But my fiction-writing success has so far been restricted to just two short stories I wrote under the name of Janice Dunn. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to have these accepted for anthologies published by Writers Abroad – more than making up for the rejection slips from the declining women’s magazine short story market . . .
The latest of these anthologies – Foreign Encounters – was originally available in conventional book form but is now also available for download.
And here’s part of the opening of my story ‘Embracing the New’ – which is entirely fictional:
‘I had more than enough sand in my private parts yesterday, thank you. But don’t let me stop you going.’
‘Mum!’ I put down my mug of coffee and reached across the terrace table to place my hand gently on her sunburnt arm. ‘I thought you’d enjoyed yourself.’
My widowed mum had come for a three-week stay with us on the Spanish island of Mallorca – which had been our home for just two weeks, and was still new and strange to us. We were expats due to a change of employment, rather than pure choice.
Until we could find ourselves a new home, we were renting a beautiful villa in the north of the island. Casa Rosa’s owners were friends of Martin’s new boss and had been looking for someone to house-sit during the two months they were visiting family in New Zealand. We were thrilled to move in and find ourselves living in unexpected luxury, with a few weeks to enjoy before Martin started work. So we invited Mum over for a family holiday. She’d never been abroad before but we were sure that a few weeks here with us, away from the cool damp British summer, would do her good. Four days into her visit, I was beginning to wonder . . .
If you want to know what happened next – or read a host of stories, articles, and poems written by expat writers with far more talent than I have – you can download your copy of Foreign Encounters from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BD2C21E
If you’re in another country, simply substitute the appropriate letters for that country for the co.uk, but include the reference at the end, which takes you straight to the relevant page. The price has been set in each country based on the list price of $2.99.
Jan Edwards Copyright 2013