Some of our favourite authors share the places that inspired their novels. Sit back, relax and let the likes of Erica James, John Ironmonger and Liz Fenwick whisk you away to somewhere sunny.
Erica James on Lake Como, Italy
‘It was love at first sight for me when I first set eyes upon the twinkling waters of Lake Como. I’d gone there to research the area for my novel Gardens of Delight and by the end of my stay I was in love. All these years later and I’m still in love with the lake – with its cheerful summer vibrancy, its calming winter tranquillity, but most of all, with its wonderfully welcoming people. I’m lucky enough to have my own lakeside bolt-hole now and love nothing more than to escape there to write. Within hours of arriving I’m buzzing with creative energy. Or maybe that’s the prosecco!’
Erica James’ The Dandelion Years is out in paperback and eBook on 18th June.
Laura Barnett on New York, USA
‘The first time I visited New York, Barack Obama was about to become President. On election night, my friend Sophie and I watched cab drivers on Fifth Avenue high-fiving passers-by. A few years later, I was back with my husband Andy (that’s us on Brooklyn Bridge). I love the fact that each day in New York seems to offer an infinite number of possibilities. When I was planning a key scene in my novel The Versions of Us – a book all about possibilities, and the paths we might, or might not, take – New York seemed the perfect setting.’
Laura Barnett’s The Versions of Us is out in hardback, eBook and audio on 4th June.
John Ironmonger on Mevagissey, Cornwall
‘I was seventeen when my parents retired to Mevagissey, a fishing village on the south Cornish coast beloved of holidaymakers, artists and drop-outs. My father bought a general store, and I became his delivery boy. One of my regular customers was the writer Colin Wilson. His was a real writer’s home, full of books and arcane objects. ‘I should love to be a writer,’ I told him once. ‘Then you will be,’ he promised. My novel, Not Forgetting the Whale, has taken me back to Cornwall – literally and emotionally. My fictional village, St Piran, is a miniature Mevagissey, populated by many of the people I remember from my teens. And it was Megavissey’s sense of community, its sense of an invisible network, which gave me the germ of my story…’
John Ironmonger’s Not Forgetting the Whale is out now in hardback, eBook and audio.
Ella Griffin on Camden Street, Dublin
‘I am a Dubliner and the city is like a leading character in my own story. I loved bringing it to life in The Flower Arrangement, finding places to tuck away scraps of my past. I’ve climbed the granite steps to the maternity hospital that Lara dreads visiting. Fallen in love in the snug of The Palace Bar like Mia. Skidded on the bridge in Portobello where Phil almost loses his life.
I’ve set Lara’s flower shop on my favourite stretch of Camden Street, a jumble of hat shops and tarot card readers, jewellers and pubs and street stalls. There’s even a funeral parlour.
Blossom & Grow is the heart of the story. I wanted it to be in the heart of Dublin too.’
Ella Griffin’s The Flower Arrangement is out in trade paperback and eBook on 18th June.
Katherine Webb on Puglia, Italy
‘Puglia isn’t the soft, pretty Italy of the north. It’s drier, poorer, but intensely beautiful in its own way – when the hot sun mellows in the evening, and a warm breeze whispers through fig and olive trees, and people come out to gossip over a glass of wild cherry juice. Remnants of Puglia’s fascinating past are everywhere – abandoned, conical trulli houses, and huge fortified farmhouses called masseria. Its history is one of deprivation, and the struggle between rich and poor which I write about in The Night Falling, but when I went there I found friendly people, amazing food, and wide, sun-baked landscapes to get lost in – heaven!’
Katherine Webb’s The Night Falling is out now in paperback, eBook and audio.
Liz Fenwick on Frenchman’s Creek, Cornwall
‘Say the name Frenchman’s Creek and most people think pirates and romance. I think of love and happiness. Just over a year after meeting my now husband he proposed to me on a walk there. It’s a magical place and a sense of mystery fills the air. It’s the perfect setting for a novel with its quiet waters and twisted oak branches concealing secrets, past lives and grand passions. So when I heard the Cornish saying – save a stranger from the sea, he’ll turn your enemy. I knew exactly where I wanted the story to take place.’
Liz Fenwick’s Under A Cornish Sky is out now in paperback, eBook and audio.
Nicky Pellegrino on Venice, Italy
‘How could any writer fail to be inspired by Venice? There are so many stories in its maze of canals and narrow lanes, so much history and so many lives passing through. I spent time there to research my new novel One Summer In Venice – all alone because it’s what my character does. Like her I got lost and then found myself again, drank cocktails on a hotel terrace overlooking the Grand Canal, ate in back street bars, shopped at the Rialto market, walked for miles and people-watched for hours. Venice didn’t only inspire me, it became another character in my story – infuriating at times but ridiculously beautiful; a city like no other.’
Nicky Pellegrino’s One Summer in Venice is out on 21st May in paperback, eBook and audio.