Summer

Take a book holiday with some of our favourite authors!

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, author of The Dandelion Years, next to Lake Como.

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.

Erica James

With an insatiable appetite for other people’s business, Erica James will readily strike up conversation with strangers in the hope of unearthing a useful gem for her writing. The author of many bestselling novels, including Gardens of Delight, which won the Romantic Novel of the Year award and the recent Sunday Times bestseller Summer at the Lake, Erica divides her time between Suffolk and Lake Como in Italy, where she now strikes up conversation with unsuspecting Italians.

Katherine Webb

Katherine Webb was born in 1977 and grew up in rural Hampshire before reading History at Durham University. She has since spent time living in London and Venice, and now lives in rural Berkshire. Having worked as a waitress, au pair, personal assistant, book binder, library assistant, seller of fairy costumes and housekeeper, she now writes full time.

Laura Barnett

Laura Barnett is a writer, journalist and theatre critic. She has been on staff at the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, and is now a freelance arts journalist and features writer, working for the Guardian, the Observer and Time Out, as well as several other national newspapers and magazines.

Laura was born in 1982 in south London, where she now lives with her husband. She studied Spanish and Italian at Cambridge University, and newspaper journalism at City University, London. Her first non-fiction book, Advice from the Players – a compendium of advice for actors – is published by Nick Hern Books. Laura has previously published short stories, for which she has won several awards. The Versions of Us is her first novel.

Liz Fenwick

Growing up in Boston, Liz discovered early on that her best friends could be books. While waiting on a place for Harvard, she moved to London to see if life looked different from the other side of the Atlantic. It did and she soon fell in love with an Englishman. Now happily married with three children, she spends as much time as possible at her home in Cornwall.

Nicky Pellegrino

When Nicky Pellegrino’s Italian father came to England he fell in love with and married a Liverpool girl. He brought to his new family his passion for food and instilled in them what all Italians know – that you live to eat instead of eating to live. This Italian mantra is the inspiration behind Nicky’s delicious novels. Every summer the family left their home in Merseyside and returned to her father’s home town, near Naples, in southern Italy. When Nicky met and married a New Zealander she moved to Auckland where she works as a journalist and edits a woman’s magazine. She hoards her annual leave so that she and her husband can return to Italy to meet up with her family and to eat the best mozzarella and research her books.