Don’t you sometimes want to bang people’s heads together? Don’t you ever think: why on Earth can’t they just be honest with each other? Don’t you ever take your best friend to one side, offer her a tissue to dry her tears and say: ‘Look, it’s obvious, why don’t you just talk to him?’ And if you do, doesn’t she dab her eyes and say: ‘But you don’t understand. I just can’t’?
In my experience, most of life’s problems are the result of cock-up rather than conspiracy. There are always genuine reasons why people might find it too difficult to explain something. Perhaps they don’t even know that they have something to explain. Think of a situation where someone’s overheard something someone else said and thought they said something different or were talking about someone else… complicated, but you get the idea.
And then the problem intensifies. Lacking the courage to challenge the speaker outright over what they’ve heard (and thereby confessing to eavesdropping) they stay silent. And that thing, whatever it was, festers and grows. Happens all the time. That’s real life.
It’s the mainstay of a lot of fiction, too. Think how much easier poor Jane Eyre’s life might have been if Mr Rochester had ‘fessed up about his wife; they could have sat down and talked it over, come to a sensible solution rather than getting tied up in that very dramatic scene in the church. But it was too difficult. Just as well, because the story would have been a whole lot shorter and considerably less satisfying.
I’m giving nothing away if I tell you that No Time Like Now is a story of misunderstanding. It’s romantic suspense so there’s an element of crime too; but at its heart is the sort of lack of communication that trips up very many people and very many relationships. In fact, when I was writing it I had trouble pulling my characters back from that ‘for God’s sake, just come out with it’ moment — because actually, in real life, people don’t do that.
That’s how Tim and Megan, with all they have in common, don’t talk. Funny because she’s a people person, someone who deals with others all the time, with ease; and he’s a scientist who prides himself on being a good communicator, a man who examines all the available evidence before reaching the right conclusion.
So there you are. A hot summer in Majorca. A dangerous criminal with something to hide. And a simmering misunderstanding between two people who love one another but each have something they can’t forgive…
I’d thought I was alone. I’d deliberately chosen a spot where I could be. So it was with a touch of irritation that I realised I might have company.
At first, I wasn’t sure. The thing that caught my eye, about a hundred yards away at the far edge of the beach, looked like a piece of wreckage washed up by the waves. And it was a moment before I realised that it was a person. I looked past and then back again; my interest caught. Because something about the sunbather looked wrong.
Naturally curious, that’s my problem. And anyway, I had nothing else to do with the morning since Miss Austen had failed to engage my attention and I wasn’t keen on risking my peace of mind back at the centre. Clutching the photo between my fingers, I crunched my way along the narrow strip of beach. Just a few yards along, it dawned on me that what I was looking at wasn’t a sunbather, that it wasn’t even actually on the beach but washed by the shallow sea.
The pebbles spitting under my feet, I broke into a run and, even before I got there, I knew that I’d found a body.
About No Time Like Now
Hiding away from a disastrous past, Megan McLeod is getting along nicely in her job as housekeeper at a university field centre in Majorca. But the arrival of geological researcher, Tim Stone, throws everything into disarray — because Tim was the father of the baby she lost some years before and the two of them had parted very messily indeed.
As if having Tim on the scene wasn’t bad enough, he’s there with his new partner, Holly. But when in the course of his research he comes upon something extremely nasty along the cliffs of north Majorca, he’s forced to turn to Megan for help.
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About Jennifer Young
Jennifer Young is an Edinburgh-based writer, editor and copywriter. She is interested in a wide range of subjects and writing media, perhaps reflecting the fact that she has both arts and science degrees. Jennifer has been writing fiction, including romantic fiction, for a number of years with several short stories already published. No Time Like Now is her second published novel; her first novel, Thank You For The Music, is also set on the Balearic island of Majorca.
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