The Scent of Water by Alison Hoblyn


Ellie’s story is placed in beautiful surroundings – amongst art and gardens in Italy and the English countryside. What she sees is really important to her and gives her resources for living. I suppose that part of her is just like me.My favourite 20th century artist - who painted with real soul - is Winifred Nicholson.(1893-1981); I mention quite a few painters and paintings in the course of the story. Ask me where or how I started the actual writing and I can’t remember – but I do vividly recall standing in the garden of Villa Gamberaia and knowing it must have been the background for many stories. My ‘other life’ is as a painter and I often start my writing with a bit of visual cinema in my head. Which leads me to ask myself who would I cast as Salvatore in the film version? One reader suggested Art Malik…any other ideas?


By the time we get to 45 or more, we will all have suffered some losses – financial, emotional, physical – so it seemed a natural theme to write about for ‘women of a certain age’. It’s how we use these experiences that I wanted to explore in the book. I think I was more than a little fed up with rather strident stories of people ‘getting back’ at each other. The idea that you have to be vengeful to be a strong woman doesn’t seem right to me. It often takes more strength not to go for the knee-jerk reaction. I wanted to show Ellie as a woman, with the usual mix of confidence and fears, trying to find a way through her problems that gives her peace. Her path happens to be via a particular belief system. She dipped into resources that began to have meaning for her when everything else was taken away. That really interested me. I tried to write her, not as a cardboard fundamentalist, but as someone who is seeking answers. I’d love to know how she comes across to readers.


Always interesting…And at over 45 we’re just as variable in our tastes as twenty-somethings. I enjoyed the fact that, for Ellie, not having sex was just as important as a meaningful consummation. I’m sure that could open up an interesting message board if anyone dares…









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