A ‘Memory Seed’ Ramble…

by stephenpalmersf

Last Saturday I revisited one of my old haunts in Surrey, Virginia Water & Windsor Great Park. In the 1980s I’d go for lots of walks around Virginia Water – sometimes heading off into the park – and on those walks I’d think about the novels I was writing, or planning to write. One day in 1988, a couple of years after I’d written my first attempt at a novel, I was inspired by the greenery to think about a scenario where a coastal town was surrounded by, and then invaded by rampant vegetation. I had two mental images: one of a series of moss-covered roofs leading down to the sea, the other of a swish bordello that was a cover for some other operation. Later I imagined characters who might inhabit this city, which, after the supercomputer, I named Kray (for some reason I imagined a supercomputer at the heart of the place).

The first draft wasn’t great, but four years later I was inspired to return to the scenario – the first time I’d ever done that. Something in Kray called me back. So I wrote a better draft, that, two years later, got noticed by Tim Holman at Orbit Books. Still later, the third draft of the novel became my debut Memory Seed.

I took the photos you see below last Saturday. The park is much the same; a few new paths, and the obelisk area has been converted into a family area. But it was great to see the place again. The totem pole you see in the montage inspired the totem pole of varnished heads that the Revellers use. The rampant greenery inspired the fiendish Kray vegetation, while the more manicured areas maybe inspired Kray’s urban gardens…

Location and setting are very important in my novels. Virginia Water and Windsor Great Park inspired one of my favourites.

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Virginia Water montage