“The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes.”
Somehow, I can’t quite picture Agatha polishing the porcelain, can you?
“The Queen of Crime,” “The Dutchess of Death,” “Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire,” “President of the Detection Club” — Agatha was a busy lady, indeed! She wrote over 80 novels which have sold billions of copies and been translated into 103 languages –14 more than her fellow Brit, William Shakespeare. According to The Guinness Book of World Records, she is the best-selling writer of books of all time. She also authored The Mousetrap, the longest-running play in theatrical history.
I was inspired to chase down Dame Agatha’s bio after seeing a TV special about the Orient Express hosted by David Suchet, the actor who created a wonderfully memorable Hercule Poirot. The show featured scenes from the film Murder on the Orient Express based on Christie’s 1934 novel, which was inspired by several trips to Istanbul she took on the luxurious train. Mmm…I wonder how many travelers rode the Orient Express over the years — surely the number runs well into the tens of thousands. Yet only one, our gal Agatha, had the presence of mind and the fertile imagination to immortalize it in print as the scene of a dastardly crime. How deliciously wicked and clever of her!
Christie herself said she never knew when or where the idea for a new novel might arise. As she put it, “Plots come to me at such odd moments, when I am walking along the street, or examining a hat shop….suddenly a splendid idea comes into my head.” While she jotted down ideas and potential characters in notebooks, she actually worked out all the details and clues in her head before putting pen to paper — probably while she was washing all those dishes! All of which should remind us that a relaxed mind is a creative mind. Often it’s when we aren’t writing, but wandering, that inspiration hits. Just ask Agatha!