Hearts Anonymous Preface:
‘What inspired you to write the story?’ is a question I am asked once in a while.
I mostly find this question impossible to answer. I can never figure out that inspirational moment. Lots of little things come together to write a story and I never feel: Oh, what inspiration! Eureka! There is never a Eureka moment for me. There is however a work moment, lots and lots of them, and I work every day to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, and if that means cutting off pieces of the jigsaw piece to make it fit, then give me the scissors. However, there have been specific moments, situations, things I see from behind the steering-wheel, stories my wife tells me, that provide little snippets of future novels, obviously doctored and played around with until the piece fits.
Oddly enough, many of my novels started as misreading, mishearing, and misunderstanding.
The following is a little something of what would eventually become the ‘inspiration’ for Hearts Anonymous…
My 4-year-old daughter, Chloe, ran across a street one morning when we were going to collect the post. She was almost knocked down by an unsuspecting young faceless driver. On the way back home, I thanked fate that that car hadn’t left its destination a second later. What could’ve started out as a harmless five-minute walk could’ve turned into a lifetime-nightmare. But it didn’t, and as I write this, I take a deep breath of relief. (It’s not fun re-reading this for the editing process.)
This is what had planted the idea-seed for this book: the what if syndrome. What if and how would I cope with ‘if’? Life and Death is all about timing…timing…time… Turn back time… I found myself seeing myself in another life, wondering if it is possible to turn back the clock and leave the silly post, mainly bills, for tomorrow. But then again, who knows what tomorrow will bring and maybe it’s better not knowing…which is, without giving too much away, what this little novel is about.
I acquired a grandfather clock, dated 1782, for my 40th birthday last year. Its sombre tick-tock can be heard right now in my living-room. To think that people heard the same sound and hourly chime 234 years ago is astonishing, and I feel that the clock has been around so long that it has come alive, in a way. If I look, real up-close, into the clock’s face, I expect to turn around and find myself in a world without electricity, candle-lit rooms, period costumes, corsets, wigs, and muddy streets with horses. If you check back through my personal blog, you will see a photo of the very clock which has been a big inspiration for me and which has come alive in Hearts Anonymous.
Also, around about the time as my daughter ran across the street, my younger sister, Sarah, forwarded me some photos of abandoned amusement parks and that really brought on a tsunami of creative juices. In hindsight, this might have been one of those ‘moments’ that got the gears and wheels whirring.
Something else has been an inspiration for me, but that’s a secret going to my grave (with me).
A magician shouldn’t give away all his tricks, now should he?
Jonathan Dunne, 11th April, 2016.