I’m interviewing author and blogger, Jo Lambert, today about how her travels have inspired her writing, especially her latest two books, Summer Moved On and Watercolours in the Rain, (The Devon Duo) which are both set in Devon.
Morning, Jo, can you tell us a bit about where you live?
Morning, Karen. I’m a West Country girl living on the eastern edge of the city of Bath in Somerset. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty and sits on the edge of the Cotswolds.
Do you like to travel? What is your favourite means of travel?
Yes, I enjoy getting away. I used to love flying but these days there always appears to be a crush at airports whatever time you fly. The car is often a better option – no luggage restrictions, just load everything in and drive.
Oh I agree, airports can be a nightmare! What countries have you visited or lived in?
I’ve visited Spain (including Majorca, Ibiza and Minorca), France, Monaco, Italy, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Madeira, Germany, Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands, Greece (including the Greek islands and Corfu), Croatia and the Czech Republic.
What country/place has made the most impact on you? Why?
It has to be Italy. I love everything about the country – the people, the culture, the food. Then of course, there’s its amazing history – from ancient Pompeii to Renaissance Florence, both of which I’ve visited.
Have you featured any of the countries/places you’ve visited in your novels? Tell us a little about them?
Yes, I used Tuscany as one of the backdrops for my novel The Other Side of Morning which featured an Italian hero. I also featured Dartmouth, Devon earlier in that same novel.
In Between Today and Yesterday one of the main characters was a singer, an American diva who refused to fly on anything but US airlines. She was doing a small operatic tour of French and Italian cities in the Med and travelled on a luxury yacht on loan from a rich Arab. Venice and Capri also featured. The main location for the novel was just outside Marbella, where we’d often stayed in the 1990s.
Has any country/place you’ve visited ever given you inspiration for a story?
Yes, this was the inspiration for Lynbrook Hall, (the Devon Duo series)
And this was the inspiration for Lynbrook Village.
In my teens we used to regularly holiday in North Cornwall, near St Agnes. This was long before I ever embarked on writing a novel. I remember during one of those holidays I was reading Susan Howatch’s novel Penmarric. I became being totally swept away not only by the story, but its Cornish location. I think it had more impact because I was actually staying there at the time. After completing my last novel I was running through some options for my next book and suddenly remembered Cornwall and thought ’why not?’ So now I’m currently ‘living’ on the North Cornish coast.
We used to holiday in Cornwall regularly, and often stayed at a caravan site in St Agnes – a beautiful place!
How do you do your research? Do you use google or actually visit the place?
A mixture of both. Google Earth is particularly useful as you can do a virtual walk around places. In The Other Side of Morning, one of my central characters was staying in Verona and spent the morning sightseeing. I’d been there a while back but apart from the Arena and Juliette’s Balcony, I couldn’t remember much about the city. Google Earth solved my problem, enabling me to take a virtual walk around and describe exactly what my character was seeing.
For my UK based novels I have taken backdrops which are known to me. I remember being in Kingsbridge, Devon one year and taking a trip to Dartmouth. I saw this house overlooking the Dart which had a beautiful chrome and glass balcony. In the book I was writing at the time, the central female character had bought a house overlooking the river. Once I saw it I knew it was just what I was looking for and took a quick photo. Yes, the camera often proves another useful companion for research and goes everywhere with me.
Is there any country/place you would love to write about but haven’t visited yet?
I can’t think of anywhere at the moment but definitely not a city as I do like to write about wide open spaces.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever seen/done while travelling?
I think probably the storks in Cáceres. In 1998 we had what we called our Spanish Sojourn – catching a flight to Madrid, picking up a car and making two day stops in Toledo, Cáceres and Cordoba, followed by a week on the coast. After dinner on our first night in Cáceres, an old medieval town, we went for a walk and above us the storks were circling, large, white and very silent apart from the occasional beat of wings. It was quite eerie. Most buildings in this region of Spain are covered with their nests and in some cases metal platforms built against chimneys to encourage nesting.
Some more locations from Jo’s Devon Duo series.
Born and raised in rural Wiltshire, Jo Lambert grew up with a love of books and a vivid imagination. As a child she enjoyed creating her own adventure stories similar to Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. Writing always stayed with her, but college, work and eventually marriage found it was kept very much in the background. However in 2009 she finally had her first novel – When Tomorrow Comes – published. Three other connected books – Love Lies and Promises, The Ghost of You and Me and Between Today and Yesterday followed. They became collectively known as the Little Court Series.
In 2013 she decided to give up full time work to concentrate fully on her writing. Three other books have been written since – The Other Side of Morning which is the final book of the Little Court Series, Summer Moved On, a love story set in South Devon and Watercolours in the Rain. She describes her writing style as drama driven romance.
Jo is married and lives in a village on the eastern edge of Bath with her husband, one small grey feline called Mollie and a green MGB GT. She loves travel, red wine, rock music and has a passion for dark chocolate…
The Devon Duo Books
BOOK WEBSITE: http://jolambertbooks.com
Thanks so much for stopping by to tell us your travel tales, Jo