I'm one of those people whose imagination is so vivid that I find it difficult separate fiction from reality. My errant mind will also keep adding to any scenarios relentlessly. If I'm not careful, I will be thinking about the most horrific things for hours on end. I therefore have to be very strict with myself in finding distractions. It's a bit like telling yourself not to think of a pink elephant. Well, you know what happens.
When it comes to writing about pain, distress and violence - as I've had to in my latest novel which deals with domestic abuse - I found my mind kept shying away from the task. I'm so used to avoiding the subject that I subconsciously side-stepped every time I needed to mention. In the end, my desire to inject as much authenticity as possible, won over my aversion.
We live in a world of duality and I've tried to take on board that if we didn't have dark, miserable and painful experiences, we wouldn't appreciate the good stuff; that it would be a dull old place with no excitement, no heroism and, most importantly for me, no stories. So, I have to accept the horrific... up to a point. I have lines I would draw in the area of suffering - especially when it comes to animals and children. Personally, I think we, as a race, have gone too far in what we find acceptable.