Writing Research – the Importance of Place

Hello my lovelies,

I’m so glad that it’s nearly Spring (officially on 1 March, and that’s not too far away, right?) and the weather has turned milder. However, last weekend I jetted off to snowy shores for a weekend on Lake Annecy in France with my lovely boyfriend. And while I’m the first to shiver and moan at the cold, I was more than happy to wrap myself up in ski jacket and woollen socks, because the views were incredible.

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We had an amazing and very romantic trip, however I will confess that as well spending quality time with my better half in a posh BMW 7 series with seats that both heated and massaged us (!) I had an ulterior motive.

Research.

One of the most important things for me when I’m writing a book is creating a sense of place; giving readers a visual experience they can drink in and be a part of. I want them to be able to touch, smell, see, hear and taste what my main character is, so that they can step into their shoes and be them. A strong setting is an important backdrop to any story, and some locations are almost as much a character as the people are. For me, one of the best writers who does this is HarperCollins author Lucy Clarke, who has set books in intensely beautiful locations such as Bali in The Sea Sisters or Tasmania in A Single Breath. I have been lucky enough to read a proof copy of her new book Last Seen, set on the south coast of England, in which location plays a central part of the story (and by the way, it’s her best book yet) and she transported me to The Sandbank on every page. For more info, you can go here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Seen-Lucy-Clarke/dp/0007563388

When I was writing the #LoveLondon series, it was really important to me that readers fall in love with London as much as I have. So I went on several research trips to the capital, taking photos, visiting locations like Primrose Hill and Chelsea, taking notes, dictating observations into my iPhone voice recorder and bringing home leaflets/keepsakes to pin on the wall. I’d like to think it worked as I’ve had some lovely feedback from readers about the series, including how much they liked the setting 🙂  If you’re interested, more info here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-LoveLondon-Collection-Love-London-ebook/dp/B015W1D3TQ

I’m working on a final revision of a commercial women’s fiction book at the moment – which the research is already done for – but I’ve also started on an outline for a new project. One of the pivotal chapters in that book will involve a special occasion in a stunning location. So, last weekend, as we wound our way down through the Black Forest in Germany into Switzerland through snow-filled vistas, stopped for lunch in Zurich, and travelled over the border into France, I wound down the window and breathed in the air, took non-stop photos and made notes about what the heroine would take in with her five senses. I’m really excited about writing that part of the book, and I just hope it turns out as well as I’d like, and that I can do Lake Annecy justice.

Here are some photos that I’ll be referring back to over the next few months. Aren’t these settings gorgeous?

I hope you enjoyed sharing some of our trip, and getting some insight into the mind of a writer…

Until next time, Happy Reading & Writing.

Love, Nikki x

 

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