I am really pleased to be the latest stop on the blog tour for the new book from Linda Huber: The Cold Cold Sea, and am thrilled to be able to share a guest post written by Linda. I am always interested in how authors choose the settings for their books and Linda has shared how she chooses her locations and how important it is to get the right one.
Choosing the Right Location
Setting is important. The entire atmosphere of a book can change, depending on whether it’s set in a city, a village, deep in the country or by the sea – Wuthering Heights wouldn’t have been half as dramatic set in London, for instance. So it’s something I give a lot of thought to before I start a novel.
The Cold Cold Sea, unsurprisingly, needed a beach location, more than that, it needed a hot beach location (not many of those around in the UK!) for Maggie to doze off in and not notice that three-year-old Olivia isn’t running across the deserted sands to her daddy like she’s supposed to… And I needed cliffs, and crashing waves, and a tide that ebbed and flowed, because all these fitted so well with Maggie’s despair in the days and weeks following her little girl’s disappearance. Did Olivia go into the sea, the beautiful sea that stretched and sparkled into infinity – or did something else happen?
I set this book in Cornwall, because I’d spent several holidays there and could ‘feel the wind in my hair’ as I was writing. I think that’s important too; it’s harder to write authentically about a real place if you’ve never been there.
I think the book location I had most fun writing about was Ward Zero’s. Sarah and family lived in a fictional town near Manchester, comparable to the Stockport area where an old school friend of mine lives – but much of the action took place in the local hospital. I was a physiotherapist in a previous life, and worked in a big general hospital in Glasgow before coming to Switzerland, so these parts of the book were easy – and I really enjoyed transporting ‘my’ hospital down to England and having Sarah & co wander around the various departments.
Death Wish is another with a slightly medical theme – assisted suicide. This time, I could combine locations I was very familiar with. Little Joya and her family live in Glasgow, in Langside, where I usually stay when I visit the city. And assisted suicide, which Grandma Vee wants more than anything, isn’t possible in the UK but is here in Switzerland, so the family fly over to find out more. I watched the BBC documentary Simon’s Choice too, and this helped enormously, for of course I’ve never been inside an assisted death facility. People often call them clinics, but they’re not.
Different settings can bring some contrast into your plot. One part of The Attic Room takes place in a gloomy, neglected old house in Bedford, the other on the lovely Isle of Arran in Scotland, where I was lucky enough to spend all my teenage summers. To Nina, the situation in Bedford was dangerous; she wanted nothing more than to return to her home on the island, where she was safe and loved. The contrast of old house vs. beautiful island helped me show this.
The location can bring fun to a book too – my Lakeside Hotel novellas as Melinda Huber are set right here in Switzerland, and of course the characters do all the touristy things, like visiting the Rhine Falls, and taking the ferry across the lake to Germany and the cable car up our local mountain, the Säntis. Writing these little books was almost like having a Swiss holiday – I loved it!
About the Author
Linda’s writing career began in the nineties when she had over fifty short stories published in women’s magazines. Several years later, she turned to psychological suspense fiction, and her seventh novel, Death Wish, was published by Bloodhound Books in August 2017.
She grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, but went to work in Switzerland for a year aged twenty-two, and has lived there ever since. Her day jobs have included working as a physiotherapist in hospitals and schools for handicapped children, and teaching English in a medieval castle. Currently, she teaches one day a week and writes psychological suspense novels and feel-good novellas with (most of) the rest of her time.#
About the Book
They stared at each other, and Maggie felt the tightness in her middle expand as it shifted, burning its way up… Painful sobs rose in her throat as Colin, his face expressionless now, reached for his mobile and tapped 999.
When three-year-old Olivia disappears from the beach, a happy family holiday comes to an abrupt end. Maggie is plunged into the darkest nightmare imaginable – what happened to her little girl?
Further along the coast, another mother is having problems too. Jennifer’s daughter Hailey is starting school, and it should be such a happy time, but the child is increasingly moody and silent. Family life has never seemed so awkward, and Jennifer struggles to maintain control.
The tide ebbs and flows, and summer dies, but there is no comfort for Maggie, alone now at the cottage, or for Jennifer, still swamped by doubts.
Amazon Author Page: viewAuthor.at/LindaHuber
With thanks to Linda Huber for the excellent guest post and to Kelly at Love Books Group for organising it. Don’t forget to take a look at the rest of the tour!