Letter from Rebecca

I’ve been asked,  “what inspired The Pickle King?”. There is more than one answer to that question.

The world and the story grew out of a few words, a little paragraph in my journal.

I was in San Francisco in January and it was raining….not the kind of rain that is fun to run through stomping your feet, not the kind of rain that is fine and warm and accompanied by a rainbow…heavy, dark rain.

We thought it was going to be sunny that time of year but it was cold, dark and very creepy. We were trapped in a small hotel room and the rain lasted for days. It was a kind of rain I’d never heard or experienced before. It didn’t take long before I started feeling very jumpy, like Bea does in Elbow.

Other things inspired the book in a less obvious way…

Herman is based on my grandfather who loved chilli with a grand and furious passion. He introduced me to Indian lime pickle when I was little and I used to eat it with everything…I even ate it on toast for breakfast. My granddad used to make his own chilli sauces and powders and taught me that you can measure the strength of a chilli using the Scoville Scale! He had a little pointy beard, which was meticulously maintained and which he was fond of stroking. He did look quite a lot like a pirate, a kind, retired pirate.

My dad loves cooking, so there is also a bit of him in Herman. My father makes a mean Goulasch!

Elenor Bailey is inspired by my grandmother. A very strong, mischievous lady who timed her farts perfectly!

….and then there’s Bea…hmmm I wonder who she’s like. You guessed it. Bea is based on me as a girl. I’m still a lot like her, just a little older now…but there are parts of me in all of the Raintown Convicts.

When I was Bea’s age and younger, I used to stay up every night reading about ghosts and ghouls and spectres- the same scary stories over and over. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep I still wanted to read them.

More than anything, I wanted to know what happens to us after we die…and I still do.

© RebeccaPromitzer.com