My sleepless dreams
We all know the old saying; if life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Sometimes it’s hard to apply that in your own life. A truly inspirational story comes from Howick’s Helena Davis. She suffered from chronic insomnia. Lying awake at night without energy to get up and do anything, she lay dreaming of stories. “I decided that since I could not sleep, I would try telling myself stories to see if I could get myself to sleep that way. Every night I would add on to the story. Over time, the story developed and more followed.”
I was intrigued by the thought of writing my stories. In my mind, every character was complete with a back story and a personality of their own
Her love for 19th century novelist Jane Austen’s work inspired her to dream in that period. “Austen’s stories are set in the Regency period. I find that period inspiring; people dressed so beautifully with their long flowing dresses, bonnets, top hats and horse and carriages. I love that gracious period.”
She told a friend about her sleepless dreams and the friend encouraged her to put them on paper. “I was intrigued by the thought of writing my stories. In my mind, every character was complete with a back story and a personality of their own. I’ve published my first one, “The wind in the wheat Fields” and the second one is at the publishers, “The lady and the Piano.” There are three more that I’m putting the final touches to. There is another story that is already forming in my mind, but it’s in its infancy, so that will take a bit of time still.”
you have to experience life and notice small things to incorporate into your art
The characters and situations in her books are based on her experiences, past and present. “It’s so easy when you know your characters. They have thoughts and feelings of their own, you get to know them and you know how they will react in certain situations. I enjoy watching people as they go about their days. Inspiration comes in the most unexpected moments. For instance, having a quiet dinner with my husband Francis at a restaurant, I saw a couple, possibly on a first date. I watched their interactions, their body language and how, towards the end of the evening, they leaned in and carried on their conversation in a more relaxed way. Everything runs its course, every relationship, every meeting. My characters are no different, but like an artist painting, you have to experience life and notice small things to incorporate into your art.”
I think the Midlands resembles the English countryside, so this is where most of my novels play out.
It is at night, when everything is quiet that all her experiences come together and form a tale. “Small things will come to me during the day, but at night these things creep out and lend themselves to the story.”
Some experiences that have helped her write her stories are in her past. “I grew up in the Midlands, where my parents had a small farm. Growing up, I was surrounded by animals, fruit trees and the rustling maize fields of the countryside. I think the Midlands resembles the English countryside, so this is where most of my novels play out. I’ve also spent a lot of time in Namibia, where I met Francis. He was prospecting for diamonds at the time. He is such a delightfully eccentric and intelligent man. We have two beautiful children who I had the privilege of raising as a stay-at-home mom for most of their growing years. They have left the coop, but I will always be so proud of the adults they have grown to be.”
I’m comfortable right here, tending to flowers and writing my stories
This inspired author describes herself as an introvert. “I enjoy spending time by myself, writing and dreaming. During the day, Francis and I run a florist and by night I write my stories. I’ve always been interested in floristry. While at school, I worked at a florist during holidays. Every morning, when we open up at our shop, Flowers from Howick, the smell of flowers greets us. I think flowers are the purest form of beauty.”
This talented writer’s head is full of dreams, but she has no time to dream about flashy city lights and noisy crowds. “I’m not chasing fame and fortune. I’m a private person and I dream from one book to the next. I do have one item on my bucket list though; to visit Jane Austen’s house in the UK. It has been transformed into something of a small museum where fans of her work can see where she wrote all her beautiful stories. Other than that, I must say my wanderlust is in my imagination. Howick is perfect for me; we meet wonderful people on a daily basis and our quaint little town offers more than enough for my needs. I’m comfortable right here, tending to flowers and writing my stories.”
We have a copy of Helena’s book, ‘The wind in the wheat fields’ to give to one lucky reader. Just fill in the form bellow.
Alternatively, visit Helen’s website to get your hands on a copy of her book and to keep up to date with the latest in her work as an author. Visit helenadavisauthor.com.
This competition is now closed.
Northern KZN & Midlands Get It November 2018