Monday, 8 November 2010
Where I set my Novels
I always set my historical novels in England or in one case, Wales. I just am not confident to write about continental Europe in the middle ages. Politically I would be on shaky ground here. Besides, if I were writing about the wars between the British and the French might I not be a little biased on one side? Probably!
Counting up the contemporary novels I notice I have more British settings than I had thought. Of course I do like to go to exotic places too. I like my characters staying at very expensive hotels too. Let’s face it I admit to living vicariously through my characters.
One of my favourite British settings is the West Country. I enjoy writing about Cornwall and Devon especially. There is something magical about those empty spaces, the wild
thrashing seas and the endless moorland. There is gentle beauty too, cream teas in gardens filled with roses and honeysuckle, where the gentle buzz of a bee is comforting. All is right with the world when you are sitting in such an idyllic setting.
One of my very first contemporary romances Fiona, published by Robert Hale, is partly set in Cornwall. Falmouth in particular. It’s where I once had the privilege of living and still love it down there. I enjoyed the name of my male character David Spargo, the latter being a Cornish name. My next novel Yolande was set in Devon. I think my love of Devon and Cornwall, shines through, at least I hope so.
My second West Country setting was years after. His Other Wife( published by whiskey creek press) set in Plymouth and the Devonshire countryside. Here my hero lives in a converted boathouse on the river Dart. My husband and I holidayed in the area and I saw such a place, it stayed in my memory so I had to put my hero Saul there, simply because I knew he would love it and so does the heroine.
Lancashire and Yorkshire and the wild moors or spectacular Dales, have been favourites too. My heroine in “Beloved Deceiver” falls in love with the Dales and the mellow country house where the hero’s mother lives. It makes her realize, too, just how much she is in love with this man who doesn’t, apparently, love her.
Of course I leave the UK. I have a novel set in New Zealand, one in Australia and my latest adventure with writing about Florida. Spain is another country I use, and I have never been to Spain, and Greece (never been there) and Cyprus, the happy island where I have been. Yet I suppose it is easier to write about my homeland. I know how the buses and trains work, how to get from a to z and how tiny some villages can be. However, it’s fun to travel further afield too. Where am I going next? No idea…you, like me, will have to wait and see!
Cheerio for now
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Isn't it wonderful how we writers can travel vicariously and (hopefully) take our readers along?
Hi Margaret. I always enjoy reading your blogs and your books. Britain is a smorgasbord for descriptive writers.
Yes John it's wonderful to be able to do that, especially on a day with a gale blowing and pouring rain.
It sure is, Pauline, lots of very different places in one tiny island!
When we write about places that we know personally, I think we can give the reader a real flavour of the place. Google earth and streetcar views can show us what a place looks like - but can't give us the feel for the places or the sounds and scents (the thrashing sea in Cornwall for example, as you say, Margaret - and the wild beauty of the Yorkshire Dales). For myself, I'd like to set all my stories in my beloved Lake District - but it's also good to vary the setting.
I would love to visit all of those places. Many of my stories take place in England and there is a lot of guess work as to scenery and such. Someday I hope to recify that and have actual photos and memoris of a trip.
Amy, yes do save up and come over. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
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