Its silence and its mystery
I have been lucky enough to have traveled through many different deserts: the Sahara, the Arabian, the Kalahari, the Namib, the Wahiba sands, and others. The landscape is almost mystical and I find myself drawn back time and time again. When you stand quietly seeing nothing but the endless drifts of sand for miles and miles, and hear not a single sound, you feel both alone and insignificant but also totally free. I am always reminded of the quote by Lawrence Durrell in the Alexandria Quartet: “He loved the desert because there the wind blew out one's footsteps like candle flames.”
It was my father who sparked my interest. Stationed in Egypt in World War II, he spent a lot of time in the desert, learned some of the ways of the Bedouin and developed a deep respect for their culture. He would tell me stories when I was a child and I grew up determined to explore this part of the world for myself.
Desert scenery is a big feature in both my novels and of course the characters are as entranced by its magical splendour as I am! Soon, I will be visiting the Atacama desert in Chile with my husband, and plan to set part of my third novel there.