Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Travelling Tuesday - Where's Wylie?

This Tuesday at The Pink Heart Society our very own travelling Trish Wylie brings us some more snapshots from her latest adventures... this time from Spain...Spanish hero anyone???

It's very important between deadlines to refresh the muse with some new ideas I feel. And if there's one thing I've learnt this year from all my travels, it's just that. My last book and the one I'm working on right now wouldn't even exist if it weren't for my adventures to the States in the summer. So with the hectic schedule I've had since I got back it made sense to hop on a plane and head for another inspiration filled destination ;)

I've never been to Spain before as it happens, and thanks to my mate had no idea where I was going to until the day before. And I'm kinda glad we did it out of season so it was mild enough to take nice long walks and discover little coves with houses where I could very easily place my hero's house...which of course started the muse off with questions like who is he? How can I get my heroine here? Who is she? What's their story? What are they like??? You know - the usual busmans holiday for a writer...

And I'd definitely hide them away in this little cove rather than on the seafront where the usual holidaymakers would hang out. Maybe in order to 'escape' the hero for a few hours my heroine could skip down the same kind of coastal path we walked along, past the little coves with the crashing waves and azure clear sea, along sandy paths edges with palm trees and ridiculously large cactus plants? It was certainly romantic enough, don't you think?

And I guess if the heroine was anything like me she too could be charmed by the simple pleasure of a huge bowl of greek salad with local grown olives and the most amazing cinnamon flavoured iced coffee in the world that a handsome waiter added flowers and straws to. And when he said 'is especialle' in english with that lovely rolling lilt of the tongue the Spanish do best and a sparkle of amusement at my embarressment in his simply gorgeous warm brown eyes I completely got what it was that has proved so attractive about Spanish heroes to readers... I'd make mine a little taller though I have to say... I'm only five foot six myself and the fact there were so few Spanish men around much above a couple of inches taller than me was a little, well, disappointing if I'm completely honest. Ahhhh the beauty of an imaginary world...

So off I headed the next day to the glorious chaos of Barcelona. And if ever there was a city you could romp a hero and heroine through then this is it! Old medievel buildings mixed with new high rises mixed with the madcap designs of buildings from Gaudi and Dali - wide avenues lined with trees where tropical birds squawk and chatter - classical wrought iron spanish balconies spilling over with plants - long pedestrian thoroughfares lined with street entertainers and flower shops galore and pet stores with everything from minature hamsters to live turkeys and chickens and singing canaries by the dozen - indoor markets filled with produce so fresh the lobsters are actually crawling off the ice and all the vegetables look like harvest festival displays and there are stores entirely dedicated to olives or dried meats or freshly squeezed juices or oils or fruits I can't even identify or - oh-my-oh-my HAND MADE CHOCOLATES - and outdoor second hand book fares where you can browse to your hearts content before strolling down narrow cobbled streets to buy bags full of the kind of pastries that make you moan out loud when you taste them...

And if that wasn't enough to occupy our hero and heroine we could take them on the tram past the rich old houses that look like they were taken straight off a box of chocolates or from Disneyworld to the funicular that rumbles gently up the ridiculously steep incline to the top of a mountain overlooking the city and the mountains and sea in the distance. They could drink little coffees and eat more of those wonderous pastries while looking at the view and if they wanted to they could do one of the insanely-close-to-the-edge rides at the funfair before staring in awe at the stunning mosaics in massive alcoves inside the cathedral that sits right on the very top of the mountain then rumbling back down in the funicular. I don't see how they couldn't be more than a little in love by that stage, do you?

But I think the thing that has struck me most since I started travelling more for research is how different each of the big cities has felt. Yes there are people doing the same things everywhere; getting up for work, commuting, popping out for lunch, travelling home, out for dinner the odd time, shopping, collecting kids from school - all the usual things. But in each city they have a different pace, a different tempo - a different heartbeat if you like. I kinda love that. Barcelona had a very European feel and yet every now and again there would be a quirkiness so very individual to it. The amount of art deco and contemporary art blended in with the traditional really strikes you and I loved the paintings on the walls of the buildings, the number of mopeds parked everywhere, the wide corridors of green in all the streets and the little things like the fact people had stopped in the middle of a busy designer shopping district to dance in couples in the street when a ragamuffin jazz band played and then the buskers who played inside our train carriage between stops - everything from accordian players to a pan pipes and guitar quartet... heck, even the fact that the sirens make a different sound to any other city I've visited made me smile...

When I started writing I followed the adage of 'write what you know', so all my stories were set in Ireland because I'd visited all of the 32 counties. But thanks to writing I've visited places in various different countries; London, New York, Dusseldorf and now Barcelona have been added to the lovely Dublin and Galway and Cork in my choices of 'write what you know' and in February of next year I even get to add Rome... sigh... doesn't really get much better than that does it??? I've discovered in order to expand your horizons in your writing, even a little, it's so so important to leave the writing cave from time to time. So next time you get stuck gals, LEAVE THE COMPUTER and go for a walk - look around you - breathe deep - enjoy your surroundings. You never know what stories might jump into your head! And even before I was fortunate enough to go see these places I loved the fact that these little books we all love so much could transport me across the planet. Without the stories I read in my teens I might never have wanted to see the places I have on my list, and yes - I do have a rather long list ;)
Now I just have to find a story to go with Barcelona. And then I have the difficult choice of a potential hero to *cast* to go with the setting... I'm thinking Enrique Iglesias myself... or possibly Gael Garcia Benal... or there's always Antonio Banderas I s'pose... MAN THIS IS A TOUGH JOB...
So if you had a list of places to research for a book where would you hop on a plane to visit? Skies the limit gals - it's a small planet, and getting smaller by the day, so come play... and I'll let you know if any of your destinations are on my list for the next couple of years ;)

H's & K's

Trish's next release from Modern Heat features a yummy Irish hero and a fiesty Irish heroine in a contemporary romp through Dublin.

His Mistress: His Terms is available from the Mills & Boon site next month and usual retailers in January

To find out more about Trish and her books you can visit her Website or her Blog.(where you can find more of her pics from her trip to Spain and she'll try to answer any questions you might have about Barcelona if you need a hand...)


  1. If I didn't love you so much I'd have to hate you. Spain? Where next? Greece?

  2. Trish you are a great writer----I could envision what you were describing as I read your blog-----as to where I would like to go; well you've already been to some of the places but you see I've never traveled anywhere but the US (if I could fly off to foreign places I would go to Ireland, Italy, Monte Carlo, Australia, New Zealand, Vatican City, San Marino and a thousand other places.

  3. Jenna I WUV OO TOO. ;) And yes hun, Greece is most definitely on the list. Having been to Cyprus I'm curious as all heck to see if the islands are very different...you know Greek Cypriot hero versus Greek hero...oooohhhh the decisions....

    Ellen BLESS YOU! I think I was just a tad inspired by the location. It really was lovely! One of the great things about living in Europe is the proximity to everything, so I'm determined to try and take more advantage of it now you know? Though I have to say I'm jealous of you in the States - I had sooooooo much fun there this summer and CAN'T WAIT to 'do' California next summer. Tell you what too - I promise when I'm in Rome in February I'll bring you back some pics of the Vatican City, okay??? It too is on my list - as is pretty much everything elso on your list barring San Marino - which naturally I'm now off to Google ;)

    And I have a horrible horrible cold today so the additional pics on my blog might be a tad slow in arriving. Natasha says it's the clever dumb balance thing... have fun in Spain - suffer for it with plane germs...sigh...

  4. I've always wanted to visit Singapore. I'd love to go there - one day maybe.

  5. Pacific islands please. Tahiti, Samoa, or somewhere small and remote. Palm trees. Coconuts. Coral reefs.
    Seychelles might be nice too!
    As Nell says, maybe one day.
    LOL Ray-Anne

  6. What a great description--I've never been to Spain but now I want to go! Thanks, Trish. You're making me jealous with all of your travels. Must plan a research trip soon...