Thursday 22 September 2016

Sunset seascape

As soon as I saw this gorgeous picture, I recognised it as the scene in my mind when I wrote the opening of 300 Days of Sun. Taken, with no filter, by my friend Sara Barraud at Zambujeira do Mar in southern Portugal, it captures the other worldly light at a certain point in the evening when reality seems to recede. Sara is a garden designer by profession, and a brilliant nature photographer. If you are on Instagram you can find her stream here.
Here is the extract from the novel's prologue, when a mother stands transfixed:
A few careless minutes, and the boy was gone. 

    Violet shadows stretched from the rocks, clock hands over the sand. She shouldn’t have allowed herself to linger, but the sea and sky had merged into a shimmering mirror of copper and red; it was hard to tell if she was floating above the water, or standing on air. Waves beat time on the shore then reached out to caress her feet.

   She could hear the children shrieking with pleasure. A short distance away, the path threaded up through the rocks to the garden of pine trees and gold coin daisies: Horta das Rochas, the “garden of rocks” near the edge of the world, where famous explorers and navigators once set sail for unknown continents.

   Her eyes were still on the dissolving horizon when she called the children. A scampering on the wet sand brought a small hand to her leg. She glanced down.

   ‘Look!’ said the girl.

   Her daughter pointed to a flock of birds flying in silhouette against a blood-orange cloud. They watched for a moment.
   ‘Time to go back,’ she said.
   The boy, older by a year, spent hours by the rock pool, staring at the stirrings of sea life in miniature. It was no more than a few steps from where she was standing. ‘Tico!’ she called, using his baby name.

   No answer.

   The rock pool was deserted. 

    ‘Where’s Tico?’ 

    ‘Gone,’ said the girl.

    ‘He’s hiding! Come on.’ 

    She took the girl’s hand and they ran to the wind-carved cave. ‘Tico!’

    ‘Tico!’ echoed the girl.

    The opening in the rocks was in deep shadow, cold and dark. The girl clutched tighter. They both called again. No answer. They felt along the damp creased walls, for a warm, giggling mass balled up on the ground. The cave was empty. Outside the sunset deepened. They were alone on the beach.

    All the way up the path, they called to him. No answer.
A reminder to UK readers - if that has intrigued you, 300 Days of Sun is on promo for the next week or so only as a Kindle Monthly Deal for only 99p.



Karen Wojcik Berner said...

Gorgeous photo, gorgeous and terrifying words.

Deborah Lawrenson said...

Thanks, Karen. Yes - the combination of beauty and danger is always a powerful one...

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