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When sitting on a bar stool watching people go by, the world seems a far more amiable place than when reading an unjust tax demand.  It’s also a good place to consider the various aspects of life, from sex to age to politics.

Not that I find much time for sitting on bar stools.  Most days, in fact every day, I spend hours writing.  When not writing I love walking.  In the country, in a town, along the coast; walking through nature, through woods, the fields or a mountainside or by a river, particularly with the ones you love, then that is the greatest joy.  The world becomes a wonderful place, far from the bitter anger and hatred fermenting in a few of the human race.

In the country I imagine scenes and places for my books, The Mind Traveller, The Witch’s Shadow and The Warrior of the Light, the countryside is empty, yet it’s full of life.

When young and in the Paras I was sent to the Gulf where I spent two years looking for insurgents and the meaning of life.  One does that when young.  On occasions, I would walk out into the desert alone.  Miles from any other human being, there I would sit and contemplate the emptiness around me, a landscape of barren rock, sand and mountain.  The desert is a beautiful and lonely place, a place where anything can happen, if you allow it.  I had been reading the contemplations of the 17th century French philosopher Rene Descartes, “I think therefore I am” (more about that later).  So, you think therefore you are, but that doesn’t mean anybody else is.  And believe me, alone in the empty desert you can believe that completely.  It was in the desert that The Mind Traveller became a reality.

Jim in the Oman

Another equally favoured place is the town or city, my choice on many occasions being London.  London gathers people from every country on the globe, yet amongst such crowds one can still be alone, a single mind observing what goes by.


People watching is absolutely essential for a writer.  It is where I find most characters for my crime thrillers, The Unseen, The Uncounted, The Unwanted plus Global Raider.  My preferred place is The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden.  There one can perch on a bar stool and watch the world drift by.  There I have seen the faces and expressions of good and bad, villains and heroes, heroines, witches, even the occasional goddess.

So next time you sit on a bar stool, remember, not all of us are there for the beer, some of us are there to work, the beer is just so we can sit in a prime position without upsetting the landlord.

Go to my website at http://www.crimefiction-jamesmckenna.co.uk

or my author’s page on Amazon http://tinyurl.com/c9ultl3