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**BLOG TOUR** The Cold Cold Sea by Linda Huber #GUESTPOST

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:




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!


**BLOG TOUR** Absent by Emma Salisbury

28617089_1961546927401239_1833483103611132346_oI am pleased to be the latest spot on the blog tour for Absent, the new DS Coupland novel from Emma Salisbury. Emma has very kindly written a brilliant guest post about the locations used in the book, something that always interests me when reading a book set in a real place.

Over to Emma:

My police procedural series is set in the city of Salford, in Greater Manchester. I chose it because I was born there and I married into a family of officers serving in Greater Manchester Police. I think Mancunians – or Salfordians if you want to split hairs, are a lot like the Scots (I now live on the East Coast of Scotland). They speak their mind but are kind spirited and will help a stranger out in the blink of an eye. Coupland represents a typical Northern man in many ways, no heirs or graces, never gets above himself and detests that in others. He calls a spade a spade. 

I have used a lot of my old stomping grounds in my plots: Swinton, where my late mother and father in law used to live. My mother in law used to work in the bakers on the precinct and we’d call in for a chat whenever we were passing. My late husband and I shared a flat in Clifton before moving to Worsley, locals will spot the thinly disguised references to Kirkstile Place and Ellenbrook, and Boothstown, where I used to meet a friend from the local toddler group. My younger son was born in Hope Hospital, and spent a week in the special care baby unit so basing Coupland’s wife Lynn there was my way of paying homage to them. Sometimes I am less explicit about the location – I have changed some place names, and even made up some areas, particularly if I am suggesting something negative, after all my intention isn’t to cause offence.

Salford has changed over the years, I mean the landscape, not the people. When you write in any great detail about a location (which I don’t like doing anyway as it feels like a travelogue) you run the risk of the story becoming outdated, so I tend not to comment on large buildings or regeneration projects, although I couldn’t ignore media city rolling up. It’s the same with coffee shops and restaurants, if I want to mention something and I haven’t been to stay for a while I check with my niece: ‘That Little Chef still off the East Lancs Road?’ ‘Nah, it’s an Indian restaurant now.’ 

I love it when readers tell me they were sitting at the traffic lights and they can envisage a scene from the series right in front of them. Another reader sent me a photo her friend had taken outside a nightclub – she thought the doorman in the photo looked like Coupland.

 I just love it when that happens.

The worst things happen in plain sight.

When he stopped a serial killer in his tracks earlier in the year he thought that would be the end of it, but for DS Kevin Coupland his nightmare has just begun.

A child’s body is discovered hidden in a bag, kicking off a major investigation for Salford Precinct’s murder squad. Soon the National Crime Agency roll into town and Coupland is under strict instructions to play nice.

He’s got enough on his plate to worry about politics. A shock discovery in his personal life is starting to take its toll, causing him to make decisions that bring him to the attention of the powers that be for all the wrong reasons.

DS Alex Moreton returns from maternity leave to find her partner deeply troubled, but with a cold case to review she’s in no position to prevent him hitting the self-destruct button.

As he hunts down the child’s killer Coupland is forced to reflect upon his own life and find an answer to the question he’s been avoiding. Is it possible to accept the things you cannot change?

With thanks to Emma Salisbury for the great post and to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Group for arranging the blog tour.

Take a look at the rest of the blogs on the tour:

**BLOG TOUR** Tell No Lies by Lisa Hartley

It is my pleasure to be the latest stop on the blog tour for Tell No Lies, the latest book from Lisa Hartley and also to be able to share a fascinating guest post written by the author herself about the setting in crime novels.

Over to Lisa…

In crime fiction, the setting of a novel can be hugely visible, almost a character in its own right, or it can fade into the background. Many British cities have fictional detectives associated with them: Ian Rankin’s John Rebus in Edinburgh, Stuart MacBride’s Logan McRae in Aberdeen, Val McDermid’s Carol Jordan (and Dr Tony Hill) in Manchester. London is the home of several crime series, including Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorne books, and it’s also the city I decided to set my Detective Caelan Small novels in.

I already knew I wanted to write about an undercover police officer. My previous books have been set in Lincolnshire, both in the city of Lincoln itself and also in a fictional nearby town. It’s an area I’m familiar with and feel comfortable and confident writing about. The problem is, a small town setting can be limiting. Is it feasible for a city the size of Lincoln to have undercover officers? I didn’t think so. I needed somewhere bigger, somewhere Caelan and her skills would really be needed. My reasoning was that London would be the perfect place for an undercover officer to be based because of its size and diversity. Also, I knew the Metropolitan Police have such units within their ranks.

London is made up of so many different areas, from the most affluent to the most deprived. It’s a city of contrasts, a place where you can make or lose a fortune. There are opportunities to make money, either legally or in the shadows. I wanted Caelan to be a part of both worlds. As she moves through the city, there are recognisable locations, and I hope they help ground the stories, making it easier to picture Caelan policing the streets. I don’t know London well, but I’m lucky in that my partner grew up around the city, and so I have someone I can go to and ask questions. Google maps and street view are also a huge help, and I have visited London a few times, so I’ve seen the “tourist” spots – heard Big Ben chiming the hours, rushed through some of the Underground stations Caelan uses. I wanted to try to capture the feel of moving around London without sounding too much like a guide book. Caelan lives in the city and it’s very familiar to her, so she wouldn’t be constantly noticing landmarks or marvelling at buildings she’d only previously seen in photographs as a visitor would. I have used some real locations, but some are fictional and appear only in the books.

Caelan’s world can be a dangerous place, and I didn’t think it would be fair to use a real location or premises in those situations. I want Caelan’s London to be believable, but not necessarily an exact copy of the real city. There’s a place in TELL NO LIES (it also appears in the previous book, ASK NO QUESTIONS) that I like to imagine exists, or at least that similar places do – a secret, subterranean office. Caelan has been summoned there on a couple of occasions, and I must admit, it’s a place I love writing about, because it encapsulates everything about Caelan’s job that appeals to me, and hopefully to the reader. Its location is secret, it’s well guarded, and it’s right under the nose of people passing by on a busy London street. The idea of the place was partly inspired by a visit I made to the Churchill War Rooms a few years ago. Formerly the underground bunker where Winston Churchill and his staff met and worked during the Second World War, it’s now a museum, and a fascinating, highly atmospheric place that made a huge impression on me. When I was imaging what such an office might be like, I thought back to walking through the warren of underground corridors and rooms and tried to capture some sense of it. To me, the sense of place in a novel doesn’t have to mean your characters walk around an exact replica of a real city. A blend of fact and fiction can be just as effective.

Tell No Lies was published by Canelo on 19th February.

A tortured body is found in a basement. Drug dealing and people smuggling is on the rise. Then police start going missing.

There seems to be no connection between the crimes, but Detective Caelan Small senses something isn’t right.

Plunged into a new investigation, lives are on the line. And in the web of gangs, brothels and nerve-shattering undercover work, Caelan must get to the truth – or be killed trying.

And then there’s Nicky…

With thanks to Lisa Hartley for the brilliant guest post and to Ellie Pilcher at Canelo for organising the blog tour.




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