We often say that books transport us to other places; in my case, I often end up going to the places I read about in books!
I love the way historical romance takes me to another time and place. Victorian London became very real to me as I was writing An Heiress at Heart. Many aspects of their daily lives have long since disappeared, but I was able to capture a sense of their world when I visited England. I wandered the same landscapes and among landmarks my characters would have known, and I felt closer to them.
Recently I learned about a website where you can find out which books were on the bestseller list during the year you were born: http://www.biblioz.com/best_sellers.php?a=0&i=43622970
This intrigued me—especially when I discovered James Michener’s Hawaii and Mary Stewart’s My Brother Michael were on the list for my birth year. Does this “literary zodiac” account for my love of travel and the fact that Mary Stewart is one of my favorite authors? Who’s to say? One thing I do know is that Mary Stewart’s novels definitely influenced where I wanted to go. Most of her books were set either in France, Greece, England, or Scotland, and the way she wrote about those places made me want to see them for myself.
When I went to southern France a few years ago, I decided to follow in the footsteps of the characters in Stewart’s romantic suspense novel Madam, Will You Talk? Near Avignon, we climbed up to the ruined hilltop castle of Les Baux, where the hero and heroine have a precarious encounter. On the way to Nimes we stopped (as the heroine did) to admire the Pont du Gard, an aqueduct built by the ancient Romans which still spans the river in massive arches. In Nimes, I grabbed a photo op with my husband at the Roman temple where the hero and heroine of the book first meet.
We also spent an afternoon at a place that served double literary duty: the Chateau d’If. This foreboding island fort/prison in the harbor of Marseilles appears briefly in Madam, Will You Talk, but it is probably best known as the place from which The Count of Monte Cristo made his famous escape.
Next on my list? I’d love to hike the heather-covered hills of the Isle of Skye in Scotland, which Stewart described so beautifully in Wildfire at Midnight. However, I’ve also just finished reading a fascinating travelogue about Iceland, so who knows where I’ll end up next!
How about you? Is there a specific place that a book has made you want to visit? If you went there, did it live up to your expectations?
Jennifer Delamere earned her B.A. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she also became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of educational materials for over fifteen years. She loves reading classics and histories, which she mines for the details to bring to life the people and places in her books. Her debut inspirational historical romance An Heiress at Heart will be released on October 30, 2012.
For more information, visit Jennifer on her website | Twitter | Facebook