Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fantastic Tales from Fabulous Places.

By Catriona.

I think I'm one of those people Cathy talked about yesterday who doesn't hold travel high on the list of life's pleasures. (There's no one more surprised than me to find myself living so very far from my Scottish home.)
The tough life of a California resident
When I go on holiday, all I want is a cottage with no neighbours (or a hotel where no one bugs you), a quiet beach with no radios playing, a huge stack of books and somewhere to eat seafood.

Dream holiday cottage, with book stack.
It used to be Cornwall. Now it's a toss-up between Rhode Island (quiet) and the Monterey peninsula (handier).

I try to make myself care that I'll probably die without ever seeing the Great Wall of China or The Winter Palace. Boring? Guilty. Annoying to more intrepid friends? You bet. Bothered? Guess.

And when it comes to books I seem to be the same panacheless ninny. I write about the places I've lived for years and years and even then I have to go back to them while writing and commune with . . . I'm not sure exactly.

So my books are full off Edinburgh and Galloway and sometimes feature other corners of what is a truly tiny country. I worked in Leeds (about an hour's drive from the Scottish border) for five years and ten years later I managed to use it as a setting.

Leeds (or Dystopia, as one US librarian assumed!)

When I moved to California and was asked if I'd ever set a book here, I pish-poshed and pooh-poohed pretty vehemently.  Of course, I was wrong. A mere five years later, I have indeed written a story that takes place in a northern California town. Then straight back to Lanarkshire (a half hour's drive from the house where I was born) for the next one.


Cathy Ace said...

Excellent piece about the joys of fabulous places! I'll send about that? I am packing my bag as I type (well, you know what I mean...I'm in between unpacking and repacking!) :-)

Ann in Rochester said...

Since I've not been to tiny Scotland, or Leeds for that matter, I'm very happy that you take me all those places. And thumbs up on both Rhode Island and Monterey for quiet vacations. I also love Vancouver Island. Gorgeous scenery, peaceful, and not that far from you.

Susan C Shea said...

I set most of my books in places I know already and love. But it was visiting a friend who lived in the tiniest, least touristy hamlet imaginable in France that inspired my upcoming series. And now, for the second book, I have to go back in the dead of a cold winter for more research. What was I thinking?