Since I moved to the South West of England, I have written six novels set in this part of the world. They are:
Uncle Flynn – A treasure hunt adventure story which I have already published.
Dr Gribbles and the Beast of Blackthorn Lodge – Another adventure story for the young adult market which I hope to unveil next year. It is set in 1987 and involves spies, haunted houses, mad scientists and a monster.
Honour (working title) – A teenage romantic drama concerning star-crossed lovers from different religious backgrounds. I’m going to remain tight-lipped on this one for now.
Children of the Folded Valley – A more grown-up tale concerning a man looking back on his childhood growing up amid a mysterious cult. I had planned to publish this one earlier in the year, but it could well turn up soon so watch this space.
The Wormcutter (working title) – Definitely one for grown-ups, this is the darkest, scariest, most disturbing thing I’ve ever written. It begins as a detective story but gradually evolves into full-blown horror. Details are top secret for now.
The Birds Began to Sing – The closest I’ll ever get to an Agatha Christie, murder-in-a-country-house type scenario, but it isn’t really that at all. Again, for now details are top secret.
The first of these to be written was Honour. As I mentioned in a previous post, this story came to me almost fully formed whilst stuck on a bus in a traffic jam. However, the setting, and some of the second act details, only came to me once I moved to the South West. The various locations in the story – including Plymouth and Dartmouth – provided the necessary inspiration.
And therein lies the point of this post: the right location provides inspiration. The above books would never have been written had I not taken time to explore my stunning surroundings here in the South West, especially Dartmoor. I count myself very lucky to live in this part of the world as it is very beautiful (assuming one gets the good weather we are presently enjoying).
Many of the details in the above books are based on local knowledge – not just of geography but history. To take an example from Uncle Flynn, there really was a William Petre who dissolved Buckfast Abbey on behalf of Henry VIII. Whether or not a monk outwitted him by burying treasure on Dartmoor is another matter, but I always like putting a few facts in as a foundation in such stories.
In summary: if you have an idea for a story, but can’t quite put flesh on the bones, explore where you live and check out local history. You might just find the ideal setting and the necessary inspiration to put pen to paper.