|Me, aged 13.|
It is perhaps fitting that 2015 is the year when I will finish the book, as it is the year that it, like my main character Tamsen, comes of age at 21. What is now "The Roadkeeper's Daughter" began in 1994, and it began with a piece of red fabric.
It was a mere strip, really, perhaps a metre long and twenty centimetres wide. Some sort of polyester gauze, medium weight, with stripes and a floral pattern woven into it. It felt silky. The fabric had been in our dressing up box for as long as I could remember - a remnant of Mum's early 80s dressmaking - and as I emerged into teenaged attempts to be fashionable, I took to wearing it in my hair as a headband.
It was here that my imagination took over. From then onwards, from time to time, my inner narrative would turn to shaping this story about the young girl and the red scarf tied into her long brown hair. Few elements of it remain the same, and the protagonist is both older and smarter, not to mention named differently several times over. But it still begins with an inn, and still involves the protagonist leaving with a group of horseback law-enforcers, identified by the red scarves or bandannas that they wore on their person. Thus, the red sashes worn by the Roadkeepers. Thus, the iris on the arms of the Kingdom of Lynnar.
While scrap of fabric is long gone, and the story has blossomed into something quite different to the imagined tale of rebellion and young love that helped me while away the lonely hours of 1994, the threads remain... woven into a new cloth of words.