Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Jenna Da Sie’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!
This week we’re talking TV and movies:
Fiona Riplee wants to find out some insights into the psyche of our minds by learning about what movie or Network series that we LOVE to watch. What do we think the show says about our creative personalities?
From the first moment I saw this question, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind about the answer. Some of that comes from the fact that I’ve been watching the latest series of the X-Files (and being simultaneously horrified and gratified that Mulder and Scully have aged in the same way I have since the ’90s). But it also comes from the special place that the X-Files holds in my heart. I started watching it as a 21-year-old young woman, working in my first professional job. It was back in the days before the internet, before ebooks, and before all those other things like kids and family took my energy and attention. I was living in a shared house in Liverpool with other young professionals, and when the X-Files came on we’d all gather around the TV and keep quiet for a full hour. That in itself was a minor miracle!
So what was it (or is it) about the X Files that made me fall in love with it? I guess first of all it was the subject matter. I’ve always been crazy about the unexplained, and the fact there was a whole TV series about these types of phenomena stole my attention from the start. It was like watching Charles Fort but on the small screen.
But it wasn’t simply the science-fiction storylines that kept me glued to my seat every Tuesday night. It was the characterisation that made me come back for more. Mulder — like me — wanted to believe, and every time his theories were proved right I found myself giving him a silent cheer. Through the series arc we learned why it was he needed to believe – about his sister’s disappearance, about his father’s involvement in the conspiracy. It made the viewer both empathetic and understanding of his sometimes-wild suppositions.
On the other side of the sceptical fence, Scully viewed Mulder’s enthusiasms with a scientific eye, pulling him back when he was getting too fantastical, raising a single eyebrow when he went too far. But then something happened — or rather lots of things — and we saw Scully’s eyes slowly being opened to the reality of the phenomena they were investigating. She came to believe, too.
Of course the romantic in me also loved the dynamic between the two. I was desperate for them to get together, but also desperate for the UST to remain. In the end I think the writers did an amazing job of skating that line, giving us just enough to fill our desires, while leaving us questioning ‘will they or won’t they’. If I could replicate that in my books I’d be a very happy romance writer.
So to answer Fiona’s final question – what does this love of the X-Files say about my creative personality – I guess it’s that I want to believe. I want to believe in Love, in Happily Ever After and in two souls scouring the world until they come together. And I can’t see much wrong with that 🙂
Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Teresa Keefer’s blog, hi, and thanks for joining me!
This week I got to set the question:
How do you choose the location for you books? Do you pick somewhere you’ve already been, or do you research creatively, using Google and other methods to find the perfect spot?
Oh, the power!
In some of the best books I’ve read, the location is like an extra character, adding a flavour and edge to a scene that allows the reader to close their eyes and picture the scene, allowing it to play out in their mind as if it’s a movie. Without really having to think hard about it, I can remember my favorite books that do this — including Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (Cornwall), Wuthering Heights (Yorkshire) by Emily Bronte, and of course, Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkein (The magnificently made up Middle Earth).
When I try to imagine any of these books taking place in a different location, it’s almost impossible to do. The setting is woven through the narrative like a silken thread. To pull it out would unravel the whole tapestry.
When it came to my own books, I chose the location very carefully. At first I stuck to what I knew well. Fix You takes place (for the most part) in London and New York, two cities I had spent a lot of time in. Of course I still needed to do research, to find the best part of the city for some of the action to take place, or to find the perfect restaurant or bar for a scene to be set in. But for the most part, luckily for me, I could use my own memory.
With my Love in London series, for the majority of the stories they take part in that city. London is a big place, however, and runs the gamut from very rich locations to extremely poor ones. In this respect I tended to choose the exact location to suit the characters. It would seem very strange for a poor character to be living in Mayfair, but equally weird for a wealthy one to be living in one of the poorer parts of East London.
It’s only recently that I’ve started choosing locations that I haven’t had the chance to visit. I’m writing a new series (more information on this soon), and the first book is set in a fictional small town in West Virginia, USA. The second book is set in Italy, in a small village called Varenna on the banks of Lake Como. Researching these locations was a really enjoyable part of the whole process. In fact I loved researching about Italy so much that we’ve now booked our summer vacation there. Which means I’ll get to visit the real Varenna, and see if it matches up to the village I’ve created from my research.
We now have a joke in my family that wherever I set the next book, we will have to visit. I’m currently deciding between Mauritius and Koh Samui. Not a bad choice to make, huh?