I’ve so enjoyed reading everyone’s travel’s tales that I wanted to tell you about the places that have inspired my writing too! Let me start by telling you about the places I’ve lived. I was born in Birmingham, then moved to Cornwall for a few years, and then back to the Midlands where I settled in Worcester. Worcester is a beautiful city, but as yet I haven’t featured it in one of my books.
Cornwall, however, inspired the setting for The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, which is published today. I holidayed in Cornwall for many years when my children were young. before moving there in 1999. My favourite place was St Ives, on which Port Medden in The Cornish Hotel by the Sea is loosely based. I moved back to the Midlands in 2007 but Cornwall will always have special place in my heart and writing The Cornish Hotel by the Sea brought back lovely memories.
I’ve travelled to a few countries. Cyprus, Turkey, Spain, Prague, Crete, Santorini, Mexica, Italy – visiting Rome, Venice, Naples and Pompeii – Egypt, Majorca. Some of these have been the settings of my books. Never Say Forever is set partly in Spain. I love the sugar cube houses built up the mountains, the spectacular views, the tang of the citrus trees, the luscious valleys and the calm, warm sea. My favourite place is Mijas Pueblo high in the mountains but I hate the narrow winding roads with barely-there barriers leading you up to it – I have to cover my eyes! The scenery is breath-taking and the people are so friendly. We love Spain and are planning on moving there soon, but we won’t be living in a house up the mountains!
Cassie goes to Venice and France in ‘I do?… or do I?’ paying a visit to Burano, one of the islands in the Venetian Lagoon. When we were on holiday in Venice a couple of years ago we travelled around to some of the islands by a Vaporetto (water bus) and I was really taken with the rainbow houses of Burano. It’s a real picture postcard island.
And although The Cornish Hotel by the Sea is based in Cornwall, Ellie goes to a conference in Rome, visiting the Trevi fountain and Altar of the Nation, two of my favourite places when I visited Rome.
In Egypt we travelled overnight to Cairo, intending to see the Egyptian Museum and a few other places of interest but there was a heated public protest against the Government and our guide was concerned for our safety as buildings had been burnt a few days earlier so we had to confine ourselves to seeing the museum and the pyramids. On a Nile Cruise when leaving Luxor and heading north a small artillery gun on a tripod was placed on the front of the ship, and armed guards flanked us as we left the ship to the coach, and again when we returned. It made me feel a little uneasy but apart from constantly being harassed to buy goods the journey was without incident.
We also took an overnight trip to Jerusalem where we were the only English speaking people on a coach load of Russians. For some reasons the guide put a German man with us, asking us – in very broken English – to explain everything to him despite our protests that we knew very little German. We managed however but the journey to Taba in a rickety plane with the Russians clapping in relief when we landed safety, the early-hours-of-the-morning walk down a dark, winding lane in what seemed a ‘No Man’s Land to our next pick up was rather unnerving as was our guide being threatened with arrest in Jerusalem for not having a proper licence. An unforgettable holiday.
But the most memorable holiday has to be Tunisia in June 2015, and not for happy reasons. We stayed in Sousse and often frequented the Port El Kantaoui area as we loved the town and the beautiful fountain there. We’d wanted to stay for two weeks but could only do one week because I had to come back to run a writing course. We had such a lovely time we didn’t want to leave. Imagine our horror the day after we returned home to hear of the terror attack where holidaymakers were shot and killed, in the very area we used to visit. It really shook us up and we were so grateful that we’d had to go home earlier than we wanted because we might have been caught up in that terrible event. It still gives me goose-bumps when I think about it.
None of these places have featured in any of my books yet, but I’m sure they will!
My next book, The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma, (published next year) is partly set in Majorca, where I holidayed a couple of years ago. Jess visits Cuevas del Drach ( the Caves of Drach) in Porto Cristo a magical place with fantastic rock and limestone formations and huge glistening stalagmites and stalactites, made a big impression on me. This photo, showing the huge stalagmites and the view over the handrail to the breath-taking cavern below, doesn’t do it justice.
So yes, places I’ve lived in and travelled to have certainly influenced my writing and will, I’m sure, continue to do so. That’s one of the fun bits of being an author!