Thanks to Charlotte for inviting me onto her blog…and what shall I write about?
Inspiration is, of course, at hand. All I need to do is look our out of the window, because like all Brits, I can’t help talking about the weather. And today it’s pick-a-cliche out there. Raining cats and dogs. Coming down in torrents. Raining studio rain.
And that reminds me. With weather so utterly, so unbelievably unseasonably wet (flaming June, indeed, but not in that sense) I really can’t help thinking that I need a holiday. More: I need it somewhere warm.
Is this why so many authors choose exotic locations for their books? (By exotic, of course, I mean hot.) I do it myself. I may live in Scotland but my books tend to be set elsewhere. Majorca’s a favourite; my debut novel, Thank You For The Music, is set there, in the height of summer.
It begins in St Andrew’s, where poor Abby has been jilted by her boyfriend just days after her father’s funeral and, as you do, decides to do a runner. Being a sensible girl she runs somewhere hot hot hot and ends up in Majorca where she finds herself attracted to Rafa, the piano player in the bar.
“The path climbed the shoulder of a hill before dipping out of sight of the main track. A few twisted and tortured olive trees clung to the thin soil, giving way to fragrant scented scrub. He bent down and picked a sprig of a plant, pretty flowers of blue and foliage of bluish-green, offering it to her.
‘I’d tell you what it’s called. But I don’t know.’
She giggled. ‘I’m not much of a gardener myself. I can just about muster the names of plants in the garden…’
‘As good as that?’
‘Dad used to make me do the weeding and Mum was always telling me what the plants were called. I think she hoped I’d end up keeping the garden for her. I did get as far as learning to cut back the lavender, but none of the names stuck.’She laughed. ‘The only one of these I recognise is rosemary.’
The rosemary was the only one he knew too, sprawling low over the rocky terrain and scenting the hot air with its blue flowers.
‘I’m ashamed to say I can barely distinguish a rose from a hibiscus,’he admitted. ‘And as long as they’re bright, I don’t imagine it matters.’
Keeping just at her shoulder where the path was wide enough and just behind her where it wasn’t, he took pleasure in being even that close…”
Somehow it wouldn’t be the same if they were walking through a damp park in November with rain dripping down their necks.
My next work was set on Majorca too, also in the summer, also when it was hot. And again I couldn’t resist my oh-so-British instinct so the weather features strongly there too, this time with thunderstorms and flash flooding. Even when I write about Scotland I struggle to make the weather anything less attractive than full sunshine (even if that does stretch credibility).
I’ve heard it said that writing a romantic novel is nothing more than the writer’s self-indulgence, her (or his) secret wish-fulfilment. I never thought about it until today but as far as the location goes, I have to agree. On a miserable supposedly-summer day, what else do you do but read a romance on a sizzling Mediterranean island? Why not try Thank You For The Music?
About Thank You For The Music:
“Are things looking up for Abby Mortimer? After the death of her father it seems as though her long-term boyfriend, Edward, is about to propose – but their romantic walk on the beach doesn’t end as Abby expects when Edward breaks the news that he’s found someone else.
Heartbroken, Abby flees to Majorca to stay with her sister Liv and brother-in-law Robert, who run an upmarket hotel. Liv and Robert are looking for a singer for their piano bar and Abby, who’s a talented member of the local dramatic society, steps in to fill the gap – and finds herself immediately attracted to Rafa, the hotel’s pianist.
But what looks like a new-found happiness becomes complicated when Edward returns to apologise and win Abby back. And she’s aroused the bitter opposition of waitress wannabe Ellie, who’s trying to catch the eye of musical impresario Marcus Paterson, a guest at the hotel and always on the lookout for a new act. Torn between the contrite Edward and the flighty Rafa, between a steady life in Scotland or a career with her beloved music, Abby has difficult choices to make…especially when she learns that Edward has a secret…”