The following is taken from the back cover of 'The Lost Art of Room Travel':
'In 1790 a Frenchman by the name of Xavier De Maistre claimed to have pioneered the art of room travel. During a 42-day term of house arrest for duelling he explored his bedroom.
More than two centuries later, an Australian by the name of Jennifer Barrett decided to try De Maistre's unusual mode of travel for herself. Embarking on a journey around her study she followed De Maistre's example, expanding from personal observations of the various objects she came across, to the wider issues and ideas which arose from them.
The resulting tale covers a wide terrain, ranging from the serious to the comic, and at times somewhat surreal. Some areas explored on this unconventional journey include the power of imagination, the magic of travel, nostalgia's siren song - and the importance of hedgehogs.'
To give you some idea of my writing style, and whether you might enjoy the book, here is the beginning of Chapter One:
'My bookcase, a relatively small specimen compared to many of its species, is the first stop on the journey around my study. It is only one of a number of bookcases dotted about the house, but this favourite holds many of my most-loved volumes. The shelves are full to over-flowing but the books refuse to stay confined for long. I often find that they have spilled out of their allotted spaces, wandered into other rooms and made themselves comfortable on sofas, side-cupboards and the kitchen table.
One of the most impressive of the many talents books have is their ability to double as miniature time-machines, transporting words and ideas to new readers even after their authors are long-dead, as De Maistre's did for him. Although other creative endeavours such as art, buildings and machines also successfully "travel" through time to the succeeding generations, for me books are the ultimate form of this, as their creators can pass along their exact thoughts through language.
Quite a large share of my bookcase has been claimed by a series of detective stories written by the Scottish author, Ian Rankin. Rankin's fictional detective, and leading man, is Inspector John Rebus. Although the Inspector has been allocated his fair share of frailties, the reader's sympathies are usually with him because his fears, dreams, short-comings and strengths are examples of the human condition. At times we can catch glimpses of ourselves in his journey. Rebus comes to life as a realistic, flawed character, but one who at his core is a man with a strong moral compass. Despite him often writing his own rules as he goes, there is never really any doubt which side he is on.
For me, detective stories are only partly about seeing the crime solved and trying to work out who-dunnit along the way. They are also about watching the inter-play of characters as they juggle their personal and professional lives and how they deal with life in general. If the characters don't feel believable the story can't hold my interest.'
Regards, Jennifer Barrettshow more
by Angela Firth