Has a week really passed since the last Wednesday Wondering? Looks like January is going to just whizz by!
It was Twelfth Night on Monday which, if you’re superstitious, signals the final day to take the Christmas decorations down. I suspect a lot of people took theirs down at the weekend. I did. I absolutely adore fairy lights and I love all the ornaments on my tree so it’s usually with great sadness that I take them down and pack them away. There’s another side, though, that really welcomes the de-cluttering and the way the lounge suddenly seems so much bigger again. With Christmas well and truly packed away and resolutions started (and possibly already broken), thoughts often turn to holidays. We like to have something to look forward to. For those making the most common resolutions of losing weight/getting fit, this can help them achieve their goals e.g. “I need to get into my size 8 bikini by the time I go to Corfu in June and I’m a size 28 now; that’s achievable isn’t it?!!”
With the thought of travel in mind, I set this Wondering:
If money was no object and you could travel anywhere in the world to research then set a book in that place, where would you go and why?
I wish I didn’t have to add in “if money was no object” but, sadly, none of us have won the lottery yet so the travels we’d love to do are probably going to remain in the realms of the imagination and whatever images we can conjure up on Google!
Here’s what some of the group said …
Well, now there’s a good question. If I didn’t have to worry about financing it I would go around the world for research. Why not? There are so many places I’d like to experience and with my chosen genre having settings in glamorous locations across the globe, what better excuse would I need!
I’d love to know what the hot desert sun feels like or the cold wind that blows snow around Swiss mountains. I’d like to stand in a sea that is warm and clear as the waves lap gently onto soft sand. I’d love to hear the sounds of the night in places so hot there is an orchestra of insects – just so long as I didn’t have to sit outside with them.
The list is endless and very expensive, so I guess I’ll just have to use my imagination.
Ooh, this is a tough one… I haven’t ever really thought about setting a book abroad, as I tend to write about locations that I know or fantasy ones of my own invention. I think it might be because I am too lazy to research these things properly. However, I really want to go to New York in the next couple of years and would ideally like to go there around Christmas-time and watch the big parades, then ice skate effortlessly, whilst like snowflakes fall all around me, in Central Park! Okay, so I can’t ice skate to save my life and maybe I’ve been watching too many schmaltzy American movies on Sky over the past month, but I think I could write a romantic story in that setting. If not there, then in the wilds of Scotland, which I always find inspiring – but, since you did say that money was no object, just book me the Penthouse at the Four Seasons in NY for now!
My initial response to this question was, ‘Ooh get a Winnebego and travel around America,’ but then I realised I was thinking about going on holiday rather than researching for a book.
It would have to be ‘if money was no object’ as, the older I get the less of an intrepid traveller I’ve become. I hate not knowing where i’m going to sleep and when I can next take a shower, so I’think I would rather just mingle for a while with super rich people to set a book somewhere Like Aspen or Venice, which is do-able on a budget, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to go to the sort of places Michael Winner used to review?
I’m sure many books are set in places where the writer has never ventured, but to see it for yourself must add a layer of authenticity. Just as an example, my latest WIP starts off in a bar in the ‘outback’ of Angola where the heroine is sipping a cocktail, enjoying the air conditioning and taking in the view. My friend went out there for her work and took loads of photo’s of the hotels and bars they had to stay in and they were mostly run down shacks which didn’t serve alcohol, let alone cocktails. The roads were dirt tracks apart from in the main cities and the people were mostly poor. Nothing like my first chapter- sigh- I should have known really! Back to the drawing board for me!
I would love to go to Canada for an entire year, to let me experience all the seasons: the myriad of colours that come with Autumn / fall, the snow of winter, the long summer nights and the feeling of spring too. I’ve always wanted to go there and I would love to include a Canadian Mountie as a hero 🙂
This is a tough one, so many places, so little time. I’m going to go with my top 3.
1. I would love to go New Zealand. It’s a place that has fascinated me for a long time. I have rather distant family who live there and my Granny has been many times (most recently last Christmas when she was 95!). One day I’d like to try to write an epic fantasy novel and I think the incredible landscape and the Maori culture would be a really inspirational starting point.
2. The West Coast of the US and Canada. I’d like to start in San Francisco and drive up the coast to Vancouver and then on into British Columbia. I’m not quite sure what writing reason there is for this one it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. Although, Winston (one of the characters in Beltane) has Canadian First Nation ancestors so I could learn more about him.
3. I’d like to live in Ireland for a few months. I’ve been in love with Ireland for years and I’d like to rent a cottage on the coast of County Cork and soak up the legends, the atmosphere (and let’s be honest, the rain). It’d be a great place to set the third of the Beltane trilogy.
I would go to rural Virginia in the USA, a choice inspired by my love of the TV series The Waltons. The stories surrounding the lives of John-Boy, Mary-Ellen and the rest of the Walton family and their friends and neighbours are so deeply entrenched in the beautiful fictitious setting of Walton’s Mountain that they simply wouldn’t work anywhere else. The series was set in the years of the Great Depression and the second world war, a time of great social change. It would be fascinating to delve into the history and discover how real-life families like the Waltons coped with the disappearance of the simple way of life. I don’t know what period my book would be set in but that would be something I’d find out as I went along. While I was researching I’d stay in a wooden house on a mountain which would look like the Waltons’ home on the outside but the inside would be the last word in luxury living, with room for my family and friends to enjoy a lovely extended holiday while I beavered away at the book.
Yet again, I’ve gone and set a question where I haven’t considered my answer first. Durr. If I’m completely honest, I don’t feel any sort of draw towards setting any of my novels overseas. My trilogy is set on the North Yorkshire Coast and I like writing about what I know. Mind you, I’ve actually created a fictional town so, in theory, it could be anywhere in the country and isn’t really about what I know! I’ve researched all sorts of elements for my books so it’s not the research about unknown countries that’s putting me off. I think it’s just that I have lots of ideas for future books and none of them lend themselves to being set overseas as a whole or in part.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t love to travel because I adore some of the suggestions the other Write Romantics have come up with. I went to New Zealand 14 years ago and would love to return. I went to Canada on my honeymoon 8 years ago and would love to go back and explore further. I want to visit more of the USA and Australia (been to parts of both) and I would love to experience the stunning white sands/blue ocean types of beach in the film ‘The Beach’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I believe that was filmed in Thailand. Pictures of The Maldives look incredible too. Although I have a confession; I’m not really a hot weather worshipper and I don’t much care for sand! Fussy aren’t I?!
So maybe my answer is that I’d like to explore and I’d like to write while I’m exploring but my writing would probably be set in the UK and I’d just use the scenery around me as inspiration for creativity rather than a setting.
What would your answer be? Please join in and let us know by clicking on the heart at the top of this post and leaving a comment. Next week we’ll be looking at our New Year’s Resolutions and whether they’ve already fallen by the wayside.
Have a good week.