Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Writers' Wednesday: Location, location, location

Harlequin Presents author Heidi Rice talks about how taking lots of impromptu holidays helps her to find great locations for her novels... Honest!

Italia al fresco
I'm not going to lie to you, I love to travel. I like to call it exploring new locations. In fact, if I don't have a trip planned, I start getting a little antsy and begin scouring Expedia, and Time Out Escapes, and Travelzoo so I can have imaginary holidays! I don't know how it happens but often these imaginary holidays turn into real holidays (much to the annoyance of my husband and my bank balance)... So what holidays have I been on already this year? And how might they fit into my writing plans for the foreseeable future?

Wiltshire weekender
February: A weekend with my best mate in Wiltshire at my Mum's cottage while she was away in Oz (clearly the travel gene runs in the family). This included a fabulous pub lunch after a long trek along the Ox Drove to Tollard Royale. All very Tess of the D'Urbevilles and all part of important research for my second single title book which is set in Wiltshire on an organic farm and co-housing project.

March: I discovered Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast during a romantic weekend with my DH (he didn't complain about this trip, funnily enough!). Warm, but not too warm and blissfully not too crowded, Sorrento was a joy (particularly the food) but we also did day trips to Pompeii and Capri. A stroll through the labyrinthine alleyways atop the luxury island brought us to a Palladian mansion on the clifftops which is definitely the perfect location for a Presents hero. I haven't got the story to go with it, but it will almost certainly involve my heroine on a moped, and a swim in the clear blue waters on the bay (a la David Gandy in those ads).

Home fit for a heroine: Cornwall
April: From Italian luxury to a weekend campervan trip to Cornwall with my Mum. The Roseland Peninsula with its rugged cliffs, secluded bays and cozy pubs is the perfect place for a winter set romance.... I even found a cottage for my heroine to live in... Have decided Porthscatho is definitely a Presents location, very bijoux (but maybe not in a campervan).

May: A weekend in Ireland and a long walk through the Slieve Bloom mountains (actually we may have got a little lost) – a wonderfully rugged part of the Irish countryside that charmed the pants off me.

Lost in the Slieve Blooms: Ireland
Early June: After a ten-hour coach journey I ended up in Snowdonia for a week with my best mate, in the tiny village of Beddgelert. The beauty here is unsurpassed. And mostly undiscovered. A wild swim in the local lake every morning had all sorts of writing ideas bubbling to the surface. Glorious.

Late June: Italy again, this time en famille and a delightful little villa in Puglia. I'd never been to Puglia before, and I loved it. Off the tourist track a bit it's full of Italians on holiday - particularly loved Brindisi which is picaturesque but also practical, the wide tree-lined streets and back alleys jammed with young guns and their girlfriends of a weekend evening busy showing off and eating Gelati. Definitely filing this location away for future reference.

So Cal: So Cool
July: San Diego and the RWA conference provided an opportunity to explore the laid-back lifestyle of yachts and beaches that is so So-Cal. Affluent and sunny, I particularly liked Coronado Island. But I may have to go back, preferably without a conference to go to, to explore it properly.

I'm staying put now for August.... To actually do some writing. But I'm already fermenting ideas for lots of new "research projects" in the Autumn. Have any of your trips inspired you writing-wise this year? Let me know in the comments.

Heidi is currently finishing her second Single Title book for Harlequin UK. And planning her next trip... And getting ready for the launch of her online course with the Professional Writing Academy: An Introduction to Writing Hot Romance. Find her on FB, Twitter (@HeidiRomRice), Instagram (usually far too often) and the web.

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