A warm welcome to Sue Moorcroft today.
BESIDE THE SEASIDE
When I decided to bring Honor Sontag from Connecticut to England, I could have planted her anywhere. I thought about Middledip, the middle-England village where some of my books are set; I thought about London, because a lot of Americans seem to love it. But neither of these seemed quite right for Honor.
It was Robina, a secondary character, who made me decide on Brighton, the small seaside city on the south coast of England. Robina’s an aging hippy, and Brighton has an eclectic and eccentric population where an aging hippy would fit in nicely.
It really wasn’t because my son was going to university in Brighton and I’d have a lot of excuses to visit the area … No, it wasn’t! I knew Honor would love Brighton. She’s an Anglophile and her dad used to take her to England almost every summer vacation, when she was a child. Brighton, with its shingle beach and typically British Palace Pier, would intrigue her. She’s a history major and as well as the Palace Pavilion, where the Prince Regent used to hold outrageously good parties in the early Nineteenth Century, there are castles and historic buildings scattered around surrounding East and West Sussex. But the fact that my son was going to university in Brighton was handy. Not just because I could see more of him than I might otherwise, but because when I was working at home (a three-hour car journey away), he would take photos I needed or check out details.
My editor, who knew the area, queried whether Honor would be able to see the derelict West Pier from the entrance to the Palace Pier, and I was certain that she could. But I sent him a text and he wandered down to the pier to investigate. He rang me: ‘Is she nineteen feet tall? Then, no. There are kiosks in her way.’ I grumbled a bit because I’d really wanted Honor to be able to see the West Pier from the Palace Pier, but at least he stopped me from writing one of those scenes that readers send you messages about, because you’ve got it all wrong.
I did a most of my research myself, of course. I didn’t actually find a tall, dark, hot local guy on which to base Martyn Mayfair, he came out of my imagination. But I spent a lot of time walking along the Undercliff Walk between Rottingdean and Eastingdean (the latter only exists in the book) where Martyn and Honor run together – arguing, mainly – and checking out the coffee shops, because Honor goes to work in one. I chose her a nice little bungalow, overlooking the sea – it belongs to Martyn’s sister – and made myself familiar with the landmarks (the fish and chips are fabulous in the White Horse Hotel) and then …
… I set the rest of the book in America. Where my brother lives.
I love research!
Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes for Choc Lit. Love & Freedom, won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 at the Festival of Romance.
She's a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, has written a ‘how to’ book, Love Writing – How to Make Money From Writing Romantic and Erotic Fiction (Accent Press), short stories, serials, articles and courses and is the head judge for Writers’ Forum.
Check out her website www.suemoorcroft.com and her blog at http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/ for news and writing tips. You’re welcome to befriend Sue on Facebook or Follow Sue on Twitter.
Thanks for stopping by, Sue!