I am now offering a critique and manuscript assessment service. For further details, please e mail me at

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Yorkshire, Source of inspiration since...I first thought of it.

I live in a lovely part of the world.  Well, I suppose that is relative, if you like lots of shopping opportunities and have a fixation on Harrods, you'd hate it here.  Also if you have a particularly intricate hairstyle this is not the best part of the world to be in, on account of the wind.  And also sometimes the rain..anyway, suffice it to say that North Yorkshire is a generally lovely place if you don't give a tuppeny stuff what you look like and also have a lot of laundry to dry.

Most of the books I write are based here.  Well, not here, because my sofa isn't that interesting and I'd be hard pressed to get more than a paragraph out of my living room, but here as in ...(I'm waving my arm to take in the general scenery here, but you can't see me doing it so I don't know why).  Location adds more to a book than just a place for it to happen in.  Think of Daphne du Maurier's books, 'Jamaica Inn' and 'Frenchman's Creek' - they are so steeped in Cornwall that you can practically smell the cream teas when you open them. 
Oddly enough, a lot of it was filmed in Yorkshire...
And then you've got all those Shetlandic detective thingies that are all rocks and isolation and fish and simply wouldn't work if you tried to transpose the action to Birmingham, not least because there just isn't that much herring in Solihull.

So books are coloured by their backgrounds, and, if you're writing a novel then it's very useful to have the sort of background that can also reflect the action in the book.  York, for example, has a lot of windey (also windy, see above) streets, and wandering through narrow, cobbled streets where the shops all lean against one another is a time-honoured way of having a character reflect on their circumstances, and if they can do this whilst buying a loaf of bread and a cabbage, then so much the better.  Wide open spaces give characters lots of 'walking about' time, and my characters go in for a lot of musing, so it's useful to have them doing it where they won't walk into other people or fall off the edge of the pavement.

Seasons and weather are also bigger in the countryside. In cities rain is just wet, out here it can be horizontal and blinding and hail can knock all your fingers off. All good stuff when you need a 'big moment' in a book...
My locality (not actual size)