Or, travelling and how it influenced me and my stories and especially my settings. I love to travel. LOVE it. Being in Europe means that wildly divergent cultures are but a few hours away on a plane. Even France, which lies roughly 50 miles away from me, is a whole ’nother culture. And that’s what we travel for, me, the Old Man and the kids. We take in museums, and assimilate the history of places. They’ve been trained to point out interesting little titbits of information. We soak up the differences and revel in them.
Now, anyone who has read Ten Ruby Trick will probably recognise Marrakech in one of the cities. Not the culture, I hasten to add, because I’m pretty sure the Moroccans don’t have the same attitudes towards relationships as my pirates. But the place, the smells and sights and sounds, the atmosphere. A big influence on my settings. Wandering around and feeling like giants (really, I am NOT tall, but I felt it!) and being different…that was the inspiration for another book, Love is My Sin. Our outlooks were so dissimilar, along with our looks, I blatantly stole the inherent conflict of a relationship between two people of wildly differing cultures and what happens when they meet head on.
So in my head, Estovan looks much like this
And a trader’s shop much like this
For my next release (not a fantasy, an historical but being a Viking in 844, my hero believes utterly in magic, so it counts!) the inspiration was two-fold. One, my editor Deb asked is I’d ever thought of doing an historical. Two days before I left for Norway. And two, the atmosphere of the fjords. They are deep and stark and beautiful. With Deb’s words ringing my ears, I spent an afternoon wandering round a fjord thinking. ‘A place like this is made for secrets. And the jarl’s longhouse would be here and the blacksmith over there and…’
This fjord as it happens
And then, on the way out, watching the oily black water of the fjord at the bow, we noticed this
And my hero’s fate was sealed.
Atmosphere is something that I think is vital to both fantasy and historicals. To really find yourself steeped in another place.
Where do you find yours?