As a country girl who grew up in rural Wiltshire, when I first began to write commercially, the old saying ‘write what you know about’ was very much central to my stories. I knew all about village life; its structure, occupations, the characters, the gossip. It proved to be a fitting backdrop for my first novels. Set in West Somerset in a village called Meridan Cross (based on the village I grew up in), I created a group of friends (Ella, Issy, Rachel and Jenny). I followed their lives for five books in all, beginning during their teens (in the 1960s) and ending in their forties. By book four the ‘girls’ were now in their mid thirties with teenage children. Although the village was still very much a central hub, one of the major scenes was set in southern Spain as Ella fought to save her marriage to record producer Matt Benedict. At the time of writing, the Costa Del Sol was well known to us, having spent several holidays with friends in their apartment just outside Marbella.
Book five saw the children (now young adults) carry the story forward. There were scenes set in Dartmouth, the Caribbean and Italy and Spain as rock star Christian Rosetti (managed by Matt) recorded his new album in the Caymans and went on a European tour which ended in tragedy. The two final books showed I had expanded my horizons from rural England to Europe and beyond. Some of the places I wrote about I had visited, but part of the research for those I had not, took the form of Google Maps where I could not only describe places but also take a ‘virtual’ walk around.
With the Somerset series coming to an end, for the next location, inspiration came from our regular holidays in Dartmouth, South Hams. My South Devon Duo was set in the fictitious village of Lynbrook – a return to rural life, this one with a pub at the centre of the community.
By this time I’d switched from being a saga author to writing contemporary romantic suspense. And that is where I have stayed. My latest trilogy – two books down one to go – is set on the south coast of Cornwall. I’ve cheated a bit with the location, however. East and West Kingswater on either side of the Kings River estuary, has been a blend of Dartmouth/Kingswear and Fowey/Polruan.
If I’ve learned anything in the time I have been writing, it is that for me personally, it is far easier to set my cast of characters in a real place rather than somewhere conjoured up by my imagination. However, at the end of the day, there is no golden rule for this. It’s down to the individual writer and what suits them best.
A Kingswater Summer, the second book set in the Cornish estuary town of Kingswater is currently on offer as an e-book download on Amazon for 99p/$1.37
Love, Deception and Family Secrets
UK Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09C8Y9BC8/
US Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09C8Y9BC8/