I’ve noticed that a lot of my readers, in their reviews and messages to me, mention the settings of my novels and they wish they were real places. So I thought it would be interesting to talk about how I create the settings of my novels.
Littlewood in my new novel is shown on the cover and the setting of this one has informed the title. Brew is the town cafe where much of the novel takes place and where our three main characters meet. Doesn’t this cover make you wish we could all have tea and cake together there?!
The reason why so far I have chosen to create my own town on my books is so I’m not tied into including certain locations that you’d need to if you used an actual town. I like to be free to create places of my own. Nowadays a lot of High Streets look uniform and cafes are just branches of big chains so the advantage to making up a place is that you can place whatever shops, cafes and landmarks you like in them.
I like to have some fixed areas of interests where the characters can meet up and interact with one another. My debut novel The Second Love Of My Life has a pub where two of the main characters work and my second Summer At The Kindness Cafe has a cafe where one works, and both places are useful when you need a scene to feature a few people, or where something pivotal to the story can take place.
My towns are placed in real areas though to make it easier for both me and readers to be able to picture them, and get a real feeling for them. I chose Cornwall for my debut and I was able to use surfing in the book and picnics on the beach. My second town is situated in the Surrey Hills so you can imagine rolling green countryside and pretty buildings.
I have used small towns in both my novels as a close-knit community allows you to develop a great group of characters who interact regularly. It means that you and the reader can really get to know the place and it’s inhabitants, and hopefully you can picture yourself living amongst them.
What’s your favourite fictional town?