Greenwild: A Guest Piece by Pari Thomson
There are as many different ways to write a book as there are authors. Some people write in the morning, while the world is asleep. Some write in the afternoon, with their dogs curled by their feet. And some of us write in the evenings, as the sky grows dark outside the window. I wrote Greenwild by night, to fit around my full-time job at a London publishing house.
Some people look at me doubtfully when I tell them this, but I find that the two things balance each other perfectly. I love the collaborative teamwork that goes into editing and publishing a book – and I also love the solo, imaginative fun of writing. Both jobs are, in the end, about telling a good story.
I usually start writing after dinner. With a cup of tea and a square of dark chocolate in hand, I sit down on my sofa and read over the previous day’s work. Then I start writing and keep going until I feel tired. I usually write fast, without stopping to think too much. But when I edit, I slow down and can spend an hour on a single page.
The most important part of my writing routine is the long walk I take in the morning before work. This is my thinking time, when I come up with new ideas and solve tricky plot problems. It’s also wonderful for finding inspiration in nature – something which helped me to build the world of the Greenwild.
When my heroine, Daisy Thistledown, steps through a hidden silver door in Kew Gardens, she discovers a secret world that exists alongside our own: a world where plant magic is real; where you can set sail in a lily pad boat, cultivate a milk chocolate tree, or plant a dangerously sparking lightning seed. It’s a place where Botanists care for an abundance of astonishing plants, from snake-headed vines that can bite off your hand, to magical minim-moss that can shrink you to the height of your thumb.
Much of my inspiration comes from nature and the places that I love most. Of course, I was inspired by Kew and its astonishing plants, from carnivorous flytraps to giant palm trees. But I was also inspired by the landscape of Scotland, where my father’s family is from, and where there are beautiful, enormous trees that seem to whisper to each other in the night. And I was inspired by Iran and the fairy tales my Persian mother used to tell me about magical gardens. This gave me the idea for the whishogg, a mythical pomegranate that can grant a single wish.
Once I had these ideas in place, I was able to start building the mystery at the heart of the Greenwild. Botanists are disappearing, and no one knows why. For me, sitting on my sofa at night, and for Daisy Thistledown, setting out into the Greenwild, it was a shared journey of discovery.