Maria Jones on Photography and Writing
I began writing from a very early age, using an A4 lined book to write my stories. I’ve always loved reading, and will always have a book to hand. Around writing and family life, I work part-time as a Teaching Assistant at a local primary school, every day encouraging the budding talent of our future writers. I’m married, and we have two gorgeous children. I’m loving being in my 40s and highly recommend it! I tend to write when the house is quiet, but I’ve learnt to write around noise.
My other passion in life is photography. Photography plays a huge part in sparking a story into first life. To me, writing and photography flow together, enriching the other. They are both my passions, though if I had to choose between them, writing would (just) win the day. Words are so powerful, beautiful, haunting. They can transport you into a world so unlike your own, even into a different realm, time or space. They can express your thoughts, dreams, desires, with such great depth and power.
But for me, when I take photos, my eye will be drawn immediately to something. It’s a quick rush of feeling, different to what I experience when writing; which evolves over a longer timeframe. Clicking on an image captures that moment forever – whether it is a newborn’s first smile, a dolphin leaping into the air, the majesticness of a mountain, or the unexpected joy of seeing a rainbow.
So for me, the photos I take of this beautiful world we live in will always inspire me in my writing. For my debut novel, Into The Shadows, the photo I took on Inch beach near Dingle in Ireland, had such a profound effect on me, literally taking my breath away, that once I’d returned home, the writer in me sparked into life and began to weave a story around this one photo, so much so I used the idea of a woman’s face on a photo to take my main character, Lily, on an extraordinary journey of her own. One image, one moment, one chance to take it.
I’ve started writing a new novel, based around the highlands of Scotland. Again, it was the beauty of these raw, wild mountains alongside the calm beauty of the clear waters of the lochs that first drew me in as a photographer. I framed these images on my mind, and now setting to work on bringing a story to life around them.
Before writing Into The Shadows, I ran my own photography business. I had the privilege of photographing some truly awesome people, often at their most vulnerable as they waited to get married, or just become a mum for the first time and all the emotions that brings. I love people, I really do. They continually stagger and overwhelm me with their capacity and strength of mind. I see beauty in their faces they often can’t see themselves. Now as a writer, I will always strive to capture in my own characters what I observed as a photographer. We are amazing creations, we really are, and I feel honoured that I get to show this, through my photography, and now as a story-teller.
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many countries around the world, yet Ireland still remains one of my all time favourite countries. What an amazing world, full of God’s beauty and creation, we live in…
Whether I am writing stories, photographing or drawing, everyday men and women with all their amazing complexities will always fascinate and inspire me.
Into The Shadows
Arriving home from a short holiday in Dingle, Lily Crossways makes a staggering discovery on one of her photos taken on ‘Inch Beach’, a woman’s desperate face is staring directly at her. Yet Lily knows she was alone that day on the beach. Who is she, is she even real, and why has she appeared to Lily? Unable to let the woman go, Lily makes the uncharacteristic decision to leave behind her safe world in England and return to Dingle to try and find her. Her search eventually leads her to cafe owner David Carson, this woman’s brother, who hasn’t seen his ‘missing’ sister in five years. Lily must now convince him to trust in her, taking bold steps to prove herself to him, and together track down his sister before it’s too late. Yet are either prepared for the hidden secrets they are about to uncover in their earnest desire to find her, and the impact it will have on those they love?