Tuesday May 22, 2012
SheCon12 - The Thinking Tank
SPECIAL BIRTHDAY 110th birthday and dancing by the beach!
Okay, I am lying. I am not 110 and most likely never will be, but my story still holds the secret to an experience you may like to share...
Martin and I were about to turn 60 and 50 respectively and decided not to let this one go without a fanfare or two. Living as expats between Spain and Dubai with most of our friends spending the summer on Mijas Costa, for us, there was only one choice of venue: Triana is a little beachside chiringuito in Las Chapas, just off the main road from Malaga a few miles outside Marbella and as far into the village as you can go. When you see the sparkling waves, the boats and the odd nudist, that’s where you need to stop. It’s a Shirley Valentine type of place, where you can sit on a promontory, surrounded by bougainvillea with the sounds and smells of the sea mingling with the delicious tang of the best paella on the coast.
We celebrated with 25 friends, and being a bonkers kind of girly, I performed a belly dance, a skill I picked up in the Middle East and teach to this day. Francesca who runs the place was, and is, adorable, and her staff are outstanding in their attention to detail, flavour, presentation and the warmth of the welcome. This is the kind of place that makes a mark in your heart and your mind – a romantic sort of place that whispers to you to return and return and to make it yours. When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, the ocean sparkles and glows haunting green as the plankton moves silently with the ebb and flow of the waves.
There was never any intention to feature this restaurant in my book. But as I was writing, my characters so wanted to go there that I ended up listening to them, and so preserved the memory of this place forever in my novel, The Thinking Tank, set between Spain 2003 and 1970s London. As Sarah and Stephen struggle to piece together fractured relationships of the past, they visit Triana, lingering over paella and Rioja, repairing broken dreams, their secrets still unspoken but pressing, needing to be heard. Together, they discover that the past is never as it seems, the future is seldom as you would hope.
Our shared birthday at Triana along that marvellous stretch of Spanish coast will stay with us forever. We feel so blessed to have shared that moment in our lives with such dear friends in such a special place, and I am so glad that my characters insisted on being there too!
Jae De Wylde, author The Thinking Tank (Summertime Publishing)
Jae's Book : The Thinking Tank by Jae De Wylde (Summertime Publishing) 1969, London, England and Sally, a little girl dressed in brown, visits Father Christmas at a church fair. He rescues her as she trips and stumbles into his arms. As he hoists her onto his lap she thinks she feels the breath of a kiss on her cheek.
It is 2003 and in Rutland, England, Sarah’s relationship with her daughter Rebekah is going from bad to worse. Torn apart by family secrets yet locked together by a solemn promise, the future for both seems bleak. But the mysterious and haunting circumstances of a hospital visit set Sarah on a path of discovery from which there is no turning back.
Sarah travels to Spain in search of answers – but even before she arrives it becomes clear that offers of help rarely come without strings...
Only by confronting the truth can Sarah move forward, but that means revealing the one secret she herself cannot face.
Jae De Wylde steers us masterfully through the twists and turns of this splendidly paced, poignant and compelling story of love, identity and belonging.
The Thinking Tank includes extra material for reading groups