I'm delighted to welcome Phillipa Ashley over to the Plotting Shed to tell us about a sense of place in your novel.
This has never been truer than for my new release; Miranda’s Mount which is set on an island castle in Cornwall.
I know what you’re thinking: ‘island castle in Cornwall’ - she must mean St Michael’s Mount.
Well, yes and no. It’s true that that the Mount inspired my Mount. In fact I can remember the exact moment I go the idea for the book. I was travelling home on a long car journey from another of my favourite locations, The Lake District, and dozing off – not at the wheel, I’m pleased to say – when the premise just slipped into my head.
Perhaps I was already planning my next holiday...
I love St Michael’s Mount and I wanted to write a book set in a similar place. But I also wanted my island to be my own creation.
Very unusually, the characters, their back stories and conflicts burst onto my head all at once. In half an hour, I’d got my story and I remember saying to my husband and daughter: ‘I’m going to write this book and this is what it’s about, these are the characters and this is what has happened to them to make them the people they are.’
When I got home, I started writing and never stopped.
I think my inspiration came because I chose such a unique and evocative, almost magical location that really captured my imagination.
An island castle is cut off by the tides twice a day and that imposes limitations on your characters. Firstly, in the physical sense, because they can’t escape from the place whenever they want to, they are ruled by nature, and they live and work in close proximity – which is a dream scenario for a romance.
But more important, are the emotional and psychological limitations that the location imposes and that big question ‘why’.
Why would someone chose to live on a tiny island in a close knit community?? It wouldn’t suit everyone; the claustrophobia, the difficulty of hiding things and the lack of privacy.
So I asked why my heroine, Miranda, loved living under those restrictions – and then I gave her a hero, Jago, who was the opposite, a man who couldn’t wait to escape the place that should be his birthright.
The heroine’s job as property manager of the island and the hero’s role as owner threw up so many interesting and dramatic opportunities, that the book seemed to write itself all the way through. I really felt I could see, hear, smell and taste the island. The chance to live there, if only my head, for nine months was pure escapist fun.
But I ought to leave it to a real expert on island life to give her own perspective – over to you, Debs!
Miranda's Mount is published as an E-book on October 4th by Piatkus Entice and is a sexy, funny contemporary romance set in Cornwall.
When Miranda finds herself fighting for her home, her job and her heart, sleeping with the enemy may not be the best tactic…
With no family of her own, Miranda Marshall has developed a healthy respect – some would say obsession – with other people’s histories. As property manager of a spectacular island castle in Cornwall, she’s made St Merryn’s Mount one of the UK’s most popular heritage attractions. While she may have the castle running like clockwork, Miranda hasn’t bargained on its sexy owner returning to claim his birthright. Dark, handsome and with a rakish reputation, Jago St Merryn not only looks like a pirate but is intent on flogging the Mount to a soulless leisure corporation. Miranda faces the battle of her life as she tries to persuade him to face up to his past and continue the St Merryn dynasty. But Jago has his own reasons for jumping ship and when he throws down the gauntlet to Miranda, she’s forced to delve into painful memories she’d much rather keep hidden…
Here's Phillipa's Website. You can also follow her on Twitter: @PhillipaAshley