Thursday, 1 March 2012

Location, Location, Location…

Readers of my books will know that I have always chosen Scotland as a prime location for my contemporary romantic novels. Bagpipes & Bullshot has a prologue set in Texas USA but the main setting for the story is in South West Scotland. Reaching for the Stars is set in both Edinburgh and in South West Scotland.

The main reason is because I happen to live in Scotland and feel constantly inspired by the incredible romantic beauty here. So much so that the locations in my books have become major characters in their own right. Characters in a novel need to have conflict of course - as without conflict there would be no story – and in Scotland there is plenty of it. Here, the soft rolling mists, the naturally diffused light, the ancient castles and old traditions are all traded off against the recognition of an incredibly harsh alter-ego of intensely dark winters, bitingly cold northern winds, midge-infested summers and the seemingly incessant rain.

Photo: View from St. Catherine's, Loch Fyne. By Trav Horton

So, readers, please share in the comment box which of your favourite books have locations that have become major characters in the story? I could site Scott F. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Peter Mayle’s Hotel Pastis, and of course Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca as great examples.

Writers, where do you like to set your books and do you like to keep to the same location for all your books? Jilly Cooper is known for her Cotswold based 'Rutshire Chronicles' and some saga writers choose specific locations such as Liverpool or the East End of London. 

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12 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Cold Mountain? Very depressing book! And of course Terry Pratchett's Discworld!

Take care
x

JO said...

Annie Proulx - The Shipping News. And Rose Tremain's The Colour. Both wonderful books.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I love Daphne du Maurier's Cornish settings. And of course, I love Scottish settings since i live here! Good post, Janice.

Janice Horton said...

Oooooh (sshhuddder) Cold Mountain is way too cold - Old Kitty. TP I haven't read - am I missing anything...?

Thank you Jo, I will look out the books you mention.

Rosemary - thank you fellow Scot-dom for your lovely comment. xx

Deborah (Debs) Carr said...

I think the most memorable one for me has to be Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca.

Jinn said...

The picture in this post is beautiful! I love Scotland. I hope to live there one day.

I prefer Europe as settings for my books, or European derived, since I write fantasy. Right now I'm quite taken with the Orkney Islands.

Talli Roland said...

Interesting question! Most of my novels tend to be set in London, because it's where live and I find it easy to recreate the scenes.

Melanie said...

I set my novel (to be released this summer) in Scotland in the Aberdeenshire area where my father was born.

Love it there! I always take plenty of photos when I travel so I can recreate the scene easily.

As far as novels where the location becomes a 'character', I would have to say yours fit that bill Janice. Castles, brooding landscapes, bustling cities, quiet villages.

kitdomino said...

As a reader, I love locations Rosie Thomas writes about, be it up Everest, a Greek island, or Cairo. She makes them all come alive. As a writer I always choose locations I know really well, such as West London in my book Every Step of the Way. If you have lived it, know the mean streets and breathed in its atmosphere, you are able to make places come alive for your readers. A job you do very well, Janice, in your novels.
If you haven't read Janice's book - do. They're great!
X

kitdomino said...

Oops, who dropped the s of book in last sentence in my comment above? Wasn't me... XX

Linn B Halton said...

I think at heart I'm a Wuthering Heights.... Yorkshire moors type of lady. So in fact the Scottish setting is right up my street, so to speak!

Valentina Hepburn said...

For me, definitely Rebecca. I also love Adriana Trigiani's 1950s New York in Lucia Lucia.