I just realised that the things I know about my books before I write them, the thematic image bits, are very like the things I remember about books I have only read once a long time ago and almost forgotten.
There are a bunch of Mary Stewart’s old romantic suspense books available as ebooks for $1.99 or $2.99 right now, and so I naturally grabbed them. Some of them I haven’t read in a long time. I was just reading Madam, Will You Talk which my library didn’t have when I was reading these a lot and which wasn’t in print. I bought it maybe fifteen years ago and read it on a plane. What I remembered about it was that it was set in France and that there was a car ride with an emotional atmosphere of chasing but the heroine not sure whether or not the man she’s with is hero or villain, and an omelette. (It’s one of those books written during or not long after rationing, and food is rather lingered over.)
But the kind of images, like driving through the dark in a rush not sure of the person beside you, are exactly the kinds of things I know will be coming up in a novel I’m writing, even if I don’t know how or when I’m going to get to them. Like with My Real Children I knew she had to look out of a window at the moon not knowing which world (or which moon) it was, and I knew that right away, as soon as I had the idea for the book at all.
I just thought that was an interesting observation.