Do you find yourself people watching when you are on holiday? Pamela Newton does, and her observations led to a book Doppelganger, where Gail, a newly retired lady realises through watching others that she could be doing so much more with her life. Here Pamela tells us more about how her holiday inspired her to write.
“There are holidays where you dash around taking in all the sites of interest and historical significance and there are holidays where you relax, stroll around, take time over a coffee or the local drink and don’t bother to look at your watch. In fact you don’t even bother to wear it! Both sorts of holiday are enjoyable in their different ways but the second one gives you the freedom to sort out your thoughts, think through any problems at home and observe those around you – family, friends and strangers alike. This is exactly what Emily, in my novel Doppelganger, does whilst enjoying the luxury of lazing by her holiday pool reading. I always think that the books we choose to read on holiday are different from those we would read at home. On holiday it’s good to have an easy read, as your mind slows down, but also one that makes you want to snatch it up again, with your sunhat and drink, and sit in the sunshine to find out what happens next. So that is what I set out to write with Doppelganger – an enjoyable holiday read.
For a long time now my husband and I have enjoyed getting away from it all by hiring a villa for a week or two. We love nothing more than to stroll by the sea or walk in the countryside, stop for a leisurely drink and ‘people watch’. We often like to guess the backgrounds of the strangers we see, why they are there and what they do for a living. On these holidays I have always kept a diary. It began as a record of the places we’d been to and a way of identifying the many photos we’d taken. Gradually I found I was writing more about the people we came into contact with, locals, holiday makers and travel reps. Sometimes I’d be idly observing someone and think I’d seen them before. From times like this the idea for Doppelganger grew. It’s the story of Gail, a newly retired lady, who becomes restless after seeing, on more than one occasion, someone who looks like herself. She looks enviously at their situations and thinks that maybe she could be doing something more fulfilling with her life. I’m sure many people have done the same, I know I have.
My holiday diaries are also full of amusing incidents that would never occur at home. For example at one villa we were happily relaxing in the garden after carefully hanging newly washed clothes over the airer to dry in the sunshine, when a sudden gust of wind caused the airer to slide to the edge of the swimming pool. Before we could rouse ourselves from our soporific state it slid into the pool and clothes and airer floated into the middle until they were out of reach. Having tried fishing with pool net, broom, everything we could find, my husband had to take an unscheduled dip to rescue everything! The Canary Islands are well known for their windy weather and it was this incident and the tales I’d heard from local Canarians about parasols taking off in the wind and landing in pools, that led to the chapter in Doppelganger where Emily and her friends are on holiday in Lanzarote when the parasol flies away. In fact I wrote that chapter while actually on holiday in a villa in Lanzarote.
That incident in the novel also illustrates how a holiday can make you think differently about relationships and your friends once you and they are in a different environment. I often write whilst on holiday. I find it a relaxing thing to do and yet I feel I haven’t just wasted my lazy days away. Without the distractions of everyday life at home (the phone ringing all the time, appointments to get to on time, shopping to do, bills to pay etc.) it is easier to think more clearly, ponder about people and situations or just let your imagination run wild.
Our next villa holiday is in Puglia in Italy. I’ll certainly be people watching. I’ll certainly be keeping a diary. I may even be writing another chapter for my next book.”
Villa Casa Del Faro
Villa Casa del Faro is located within the popular Faro Park area, just 10 minutes’ drive from the main resort of Playa Blanca. Casa del Faro has well kept grounds with a spacious patio, a private pool which is electronically heated during winter months and a covered terrace.