Following in Celia’s Footsteps: A Traveller’s Tale

Cat_243_dover We are fortunate to have Margaret Evans Porter as a guest today.  A regular visitor to Word Wenches, Margaret is of the same cadre of traditional Regency writers as Loretta, Jo, and me, with her first hardcover Doubleday Regency released in 1988. 

Like many traditional Regency writers, Margaret eventually moved into historical romance, but she has also done so much more, including writing non-fiction, raising roses, and recently getting elected to the New Hampshire state legislature.  I can’t begin to do justice to all the fascinating things Margaret has done and is doing, so I suggest a visit to her website http://margaretevansporter.com/  and/or her blog: http://margaretevansporter.blogspot.com/ 

Margaret can write knowledgeably on any number of topics, but for today, she’s going to talk about the inter-relationship of travel and writing.  Prepare for a wonderful trip!  (Scenic photos all taken by Margaret.)

Margaretevansporter07 “Travel is the frivolous part of serious lives, and the serious part of frivolous ones.”—Anne Sophie Swetchine

I was fairly new to this world when I decided to explore it.  Before I was a year old I repeatedly grabbed my tiny child’s pocketbook and bolted for the door, crying, “Go bye-bye!”  It’s entirely possible that I wanted to go shopping—another addiction of mine—but my parents viewed these incidents as proof I was a born traveller.  Just like them.

My grandparents were often in another country—usually but not always the British Isles.  My aunt and uncle, academics and authors, were most often in London and Paris.  I was pursuing my obvious destiny1byebye  when my studies in history and theatre led me to various British universities. 

Naturally I married a travel addict—an enabler.  About fifteen years ago, my husband based his consultancy in the U.K.  He tells me our forthcoming trip there will be his fiftieth.  By my reckoning, I accompanied him on more than half of them, but I’m a girl so I don’t keep score!

As writer, travel inspires and informs my novels.  It’s an integral part of my process.

As a historian, I’m insatiably curious, compelled to visit places where important things happened and wander the homes in which famous, or infamous, or obscure persons lived and loved.  This sort of tourism is no new thing.  In the 1690’s the remarkable Celia Fiennes travelled all over England—by horseback, on a sidesaddle—and later published her minute observations and pithy impressions.  A century later, road improvements and better carriages resulted in a tourism boom and printers started publishing guidebooks for those who travelled to spas and mountains and lakes and aristocrats’ houses.

As a human being, I experience different aspects of myself when I travel.  James Baldwin says it better: “I met a lot of people in Europe.  I even encountered myself.”  Henry Miller observed, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

2ancestralfont As a casual genealogist, I’m sometimes seeking my forebears.  Standing at the beautiful medieval baptismal font where family members were christened, locating their dwellings or gravestones, connects me with my own heritage in a uniquely meaningful way.

As reader, I note that place is frequently a dominant feature of English literature.  The Forest of Arden.  Northanger Abbey.  Thornfield Hall.  Bleak House.  Manderley.  Jamaica Inn.  So I strive to make my villages, estates, cottages, and townhouses as real for a reader as for me.

Studying novels, we see the ways travel exposes character.  E.M. Forster uses Italy to good effect in Room with a View and Where Angels Fear to Tread.  Henry James focuses on American ex-pats in Europe.  Dickens moves his people up and down and around England, and strands them in London for battering, or bereavement, or betterment. 

Georgette Heyer’s Sylvester shows us how revelatory—and hilarious—the travails of travel can be.  So does Bill Bryson, in a non-fictional way.  The Wenches send their characters on amazing journeys of romantic discovery.  As well as sharing their knowledge of Britain, they carry us beyond its shores—to Egypt or Venice (Loretta Chase), France and Italy (Miranda Jarrett).  In a favourite Edith Layton story, The Abandoned Bride, the hero lures the heroine onto a Channel packet boat bound for France.  To find out why, read the book!

3marsworthbucks If my spouse is otherwise occupied, I’ll blithely putter about familiar places on my own or brave unfamiliar territory.  On a solo research jaunt through villages on the Normandy coast, I successfully changed my money, ordered coffee, bought lunch and a glass of wine, hired taxis, and boarded my return boat in a region where not a soul spoke English.

Is it necessary for an author to do on-site research for a novel?  No.  Emphatically no.  Often, after reading a story set in a place I’ve seen,  I contact the author to gush—whereupon I learn that she’d never been there at all, but relied on books and maps and instinct.

Truly, an imagination, a library card, and the internet are the only essential passports.  But you already knew that!

In developing my current project, a historical biography, I often rely on Celia Fiennes (and others) who described the England of my characters’ lifetimes.  Gone are the formal avenues of trees in St. James’s Park and the aviary in Birdcage Walk.  Pall Mall is no longer a fashionable promenade but a heavily trafficked metropolitan thoroughfare.  Nowadays London smells of petrol and diesel fumes instead of cookshops and coal smoke and horse droppings.  The streets are wider, the songbirds are fewer, and progress has re-formed the banks of the River Thames. 

5hamptoncourt Nor are royal residences immune to change.  Fire obliterated Whitehall Palace in 1698—within my story’s time frame—leaving the Banqueting Hall as the only remnant.  After its fire, portions of Hampton Court had to be restored—resurrecting original designs of King William and Queen Mary.  Celia Fiennes visited twice, and I’ve got other contemporaneous accounts.  Much of Windsor Castle was Victorianised. (That’s Hampton Court on the left.)

Place is formative, yet I’m mindful that my characters may be typical or atypical of their native area.  They might be deeply attached to it or desperate to escape.  (Or both—like me, when I wanted to “Go bye-bye!”) Their deepest needs and longings are usually prompted by where they came from and what they experienced there.  Place might prove obstructive to a romantic relationship.  An alien landscape, a change of climate, will naturally affect our characters.  How do they react to their surroundings or cope with them?  Do they even notice?

4bedchateauazay I notice everything.  My camera constantly targets architecture, landscape, flora, fauna.  I gather up sticks and stones and shells—even seaweed, now floating in water in a glass jar on my bookcase.  To augment my visual record and capture less tangible aspects of place, I keep a travel diary, a small spiral-bound notebook that fits in my handbag.  An ultra-portable laptop enables me to transcribe research notes, keep in contact with family and friends, check railway timetables and museum openings.  Even to blog. 

Nowadays I travel mostly to cull facts from primary sources unavailable in the States, tracing the footprints—clearly visible or barely detectable—my characters left upon the historical record.  I haunt art galleries and museums and royal residences, studying their faces and those of their contemporaries.  I examine artifacts familiar to them, their weaponry and furniture and books and jewellery and clothing.

6tablesettingva Whenever possible, I do hands-on research.  The hero of The Seducer establishes a textile printing enterprise on the Isle of Man.  So I spent hours in the Victoria & Albert Museum with a costume curator and the entire collection of block- and copper-printed linen, complete dresses to small swatches of fabric.  The Proposal’s heroine was an artist—the Courtauld Gallery provided sketching exercises.  When writing my theatrical Regencies (the giveaway prize!), I spent a lot of time in Bristol’s Theatre Royal, little changed from Georgian times.  For one performance we booked seats in an upper tier box, where I learned how exposed one is to the audience.  (The table setting is from the Victoria & Albert Museum.)

Occasionally deadlines demand that I actually accomplish writing while I’m away.  I remember being in Warsaw, scribbling scenes of my Regency historical while seated in an exhibition hall’s alcove during a noisy, busy music industry conference.  Or crafting a book proposal in an upper story flat in Clifton, Bristol, emailing it to my editor, and rewarding myself with a quick trip to Bath, only fifteen minutes away by train.

7bratislava Travel does have unintended consequences.  I went to Slovakia to promote my books and discovered how delightful it was.  During my press conference, one reporter asked if I’d incorporate the city of Bratislava into a future novel.  I gave the polite positive answer—it was genuine—then wondered how I could.  It later occurred to me that the male protagonist of my w-i-p might well stop at Pressburg, as it was known in his time, on his way to Vienna after helping the Emperor wage war against the Turks. (A scene from Bratislava on the left.)

Another advantage to my roamings: additional income whenever magazines or newspapers publish my travel articles and/or photographs.  I can thus share my experiences with people who will never read my novels.

Preparing for a journey—which I’m now doing—involves a peculiar alchemy of idealism and pragmatism.  As well as detailed planning, I leave gaps of time to be filled by whim or serendipity.  While away, I manage to tick my most crucial research boxes while awaiting those inevitable, unexpected research miracles.  I concur with Lawrence Block, who says, “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”  Hasn’t that happened to you?

8jardinsvillandry Travel is also the primary way my husband contributes to the books.  He allows my research needs to ordain our itineraries—I select sites, decide the when and the where.  He researches transport, purchases the tickets or hires (and drives) the motorcar, reads and unerringly follows the maps, locates our destination.  He listens patiently and even seems interested as I babble about a place’s significance to my story and characters.

Whenever he reads the published result of our wanderings, he’ll turn to me and say, “I was transported.”  And I know he means it—because he’s actually been there.  With me.

What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you?  Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book?  Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?  (Without reading the Author’s Notes, that is!)

Links:
About Celia Fiennes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celia_Fiennes
Margaret’s Photo Travelogue
http://margaretevansporter.com/travels.html   
Travel Quotations
http://www.itravelnet.com/useful/travelquotations.html

Dangerousdivtoasttown Thanks so much, Margaret! 

Margaret is generously giving away a book that contains two of her Signet Regencies, Dangerous Diversions and Toast of the Town.  Both have theatrical settings, one featuring an actress heroine and one an opera dancer.  I’m hoping that Margaret will return someday to talk about Regency theater, of which she knows much, but for now, a free copy of the double edition will go to a commenter on this blog who posts by midnight Sunday PST. 

Mary Jo, dreaming of Slovakia….

130 thoughts on “Following in Celia’s Footsteps: A Traveller’s Tale”

  1. >>”What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?”<< My answer to all of the above would have to be either "no" or "not applicable". I have almost no visual memory (it's as though my "mind's eye" is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don't remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven't found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are. >>”As a human being, I experience different aspects of myself when I travel.”<< For me it's not really the physical place that's important, but the people and being exposed to different ideas/ways of thinking. I find that that can happen online, or through reading books, or by talking to foreigners who're visiting the place where I live. I do think that travelling when I was a child gave me a good understanding of the fact that there are different cultures/styles of architecture/ languages/ types of food/smells/ climates etc and that they combine to make different places unique, and travelling also made sure I didn't have a sense of superiority about my own hometown/culture etc. The trouble is that because I can't remember anything much visually, in retrospect all these places are little more than a blur to me.

    Reply
  2. >>”What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?”<< My answer to all of the above would have to be either "no" or "not applicable". I have almost no visual memory (it's as though my "mind's eye" is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don't remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven't found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are. >>”As a human being, I experience different aspects of myself when I travel.”<< For me it's not really the physical place that's important, but the people and being exposed to different ideas/ways of thinking. I find that that can happen online, or through reading books, or by talking to foreigners who're visiting the place where I live. I do think that travelling when I was a child gave me a good understanding of the fact that there are different cultures/styles of architecture/ languages/ types of food/smells/ climates etc and that they combine to make different places unique, and travelling also made sure I didn't have a sense of superiority about my own hometown/culture etc. The trouble is that because I can't remember anything much visually, in retrospect all these places are little more than a blur to me.

    Reply
  3. >>”What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?”<< My answer to all of the above would have to be either "no" or "not applicable". I have almost no visual memory (it's as though my "mind's eye" is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don't remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven't found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are. >>”As a human being, I experience different aspects of myself when I travel.”<< For me it's not really the physical place that's important, but the people and being exposed to different ideas/ways of thinking. I find that that can happen online, or through reading books, or by talking to foreigners who're visiting the place where I live. I do think that travelling when I was a child gave me a good understanding of the fact that there are different cultures/styles of architecture/ languages/ types of food/smells/ climates etc and that they combine to make different places unique, and travelling also made sure I didn't have a sense of superiority about my own hometown/culture etc. The trouble is that because I can't remember anything much visually, in retrospect all these places are little more than a blur to me.

    Reply
  4. >>”What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?”<< My answer to all of the above would have to be either "no" or "not applicable". I have almost no visual memory (it's as though my "mind's eye" is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don't remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven't found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are. >>”As a human being, I experience different aspects of myself when I travel.”<< For me it's not really the physical place that's important, but the people and being exposed to different ideas/ways of thinking. I find that that can happen online, or through reading books, or by talking to foreigners who're visiting the place where I live. I do think that travelling when I was a child gave me a good understanding of the fact that there are different cultures/styles of architecture/ languages/ types of food/smells/ climates etc and that they combine to make different places unique, and travelling also made sure I didn't have a sense of superiority about my own hometown/culture etc. The trouble is that because I can't remember anything much visually, in retrospect all these places are little more than a blur to me.

    Reply
  5. >>”What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?”<< My answer to all of the above would have to be either "no" or "not applicable". I have almost no visual memory (it's as though my "mind's eye" is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don't remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven't found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are. >>”As a human being, I experience different aspects of myself when I travel.”<< For me it's not really the physical place that's important, but the people and being exposed to different ideas/ways of thinking. I find that that can happen online, or through reading books, or by talking to foreigners who're visiting the place where I live. I do think that travelling when I was a child gave me a good understanding of the fact that there are different cultures/styles of architecture/ languages/ types of food/smells/ climates etc and that they combine to make different places unique, and travelling also made sure I didn't have a sense of superiority about my own hometown/culture etc. The trouble is that because I can't remember anything much visually, in retrospect all these places are little more than a blur to me.

    Reply
  6. That’s weird. I had a comment between those two quotes and it vanished. The comment I’d made in response to the first three questions was that:
    My answer to all of the above would have to be either “no” or “not applicable”. I have almost no visual memory (it’s as though my “mind’s eye” is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don’t remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven’t found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are.

    Reply
  7. That’s weird. I had a comment between those two quotes and it vanished. The comment I’d made in response to the first three questions was that:
    My answer to all of the above would have to be either “no” or “not applicable”. I have almost no visual memory (it’s as though my “mind’s eye” is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don’t remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven’t found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are.

    Reply
  8. That’s weird. I had a comment between those two quotes and it vanished. The comment I’d made in response to the first three questions was that:
    My answer to all of the above would have to be either “no” or “not applicable”. I have almost no visual memory (it’s as though my “mind’s eye” is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don’t remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven’t found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are.

    Reply
  9. That’s weird. I had a comment between those two quotes and it vanished. The comment I’d made in response to the first three questions was that:
    My answer to all of the above would have to be either “no” or “not applicable”. I have almost no visual memory (it’s as though my “mind’s eye” is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don’t remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven’t found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are.

    Reply
  10. That’s weird. I had a comment between those two quotes and it vanished. The comment I’d made in response to the first three questions was that:
    My answer to all of the above would have to be either “no” or “not applicable”. I have almost no visual memory (it’s as though my “mind’s eye” is blind), so although I did travel as a child, I don’t remember much about what the places looked like. And I haven’t found myself feeling closer to the past when in a historic location. If anything, it just reminds me how dead the people who lived then are.

    Reply
  11. I’ve loved to travel for decades, but I’ve only been writing for a few years. Oddly enough, I started writing a novella set in Dorset, which I had never visited. I dragged my husband and daughter there, and the trip still provides inspiration to me. I’m certainly not Thomas Hardy, however.
    I grow impatient sometimes with too many “place” details. It’s as though an author wants to make sure you understand she’s done the research.

    Reply
  12. I’ve loved to travel for decades, but I’ve only been writing for a few years. Oddly enough, I started writing a novella set in Dorset, which I had never visited. I dragged my husband and daughter there, and the trip still provides inspiration to me. I’m certainly not Thomas Hardy, however.
    I grow impatient sometimes with too many “place” details. It’s as though an author wants to make sure you understand she’s done the research.

    Reply
  13. I’ve loved to travel for decades, but I’ve only been writing for a few years. Oddly enough, I started writing a novella set in Dorset, which I had never visited. I dragged my husband and daughter there, and the trip still provides inspiration to me. I’m certainly not Thomas Hardy, however.
    I grow impatient sometimes with too many “place” details. It’s as though an author wants to make sure you understand she’s done the research.

    Reply
  14. I’ve loved to travel for decades, but I’ve only been writing for a few years. Oddly enough, I started writing a novella set in Dorset, which I had never visited. I dragged my husband and daughter there, and the trip still provides inspiration to me. I’m certainly not Thomas Hardy, however.
    I grow impatient sometimes with too many “place” details. It’s as though an author wants to make sure you understand she’s done the research.

    Reply
  15. I’ve loved to travel for decades, but I’ve only been writing for a few years. Oddly enough, I started writing a novella set in Dorset, which I had never visited. I dragged my husband and daughter there, and the trip still provides inspiration to me. I’m certainly not Thomas Hardy, however.
    I grow impatient sometimes with too many “place” details. It’s as though an author wants to make sure you understand she’s done the research.

    Reply
  16. Laura–
    I do think that’s a very important aspect of travel, eradicationg the sense of superiority you mention. And the mind-expanding aspects of travel can most definitely occur without even leaving the reading chair, or computer keyboard!
    Maggie–
    You make a wonderful point about “too many place details”. Providing a sense of location while avoiding excess (mind-numbing) detail is a particular skill every writer strives for.
    Dorset it wonderful!

    Reply
  17. Laura–
    I do think that’s a very important aspect of travel, eradicationg the sense of superiority you mention. And the mind-expanding aspects of travel can most definitely occur without even leaving the reading chair, or computer keyboard!
    Maggie–
    You make a wonderful point about “too many place details”. Providing a sense of location while avoiding excess (mind-numbing) detail is a particular skill every writer strives for.
    Dorset it wonderful!

    Reply
  18. Laura–
    I do think that’s a very important aspect of travel, eradicationg the sense of superiority you mention. And the mind-expanding aspects of travel can most definitely occur without even leaving the reading chair, or computer keyboard!
    Maggie–
    You make a wonderful point about “too many place details”. Providing a sense of location while avoiding excess (mind-numbing) detail is a particular skill every writer strives for.
    Dorset it wonderful!

    Reply
  19. Laura–
    I do think that’s a very important aspect of travel, eradicationg the sense of superiority you mention. And the mind-expanding aspects of travel can most definitely occur without even leaving the reading chair, or computer keyboard!
    Maggie–
    You make a wonderful point about “too many place details”. Providing a sense of location while avoiding excess (mind-numbing) detail is a particular skill every writer strives for.
    Dorset it wonderful!

    Reply
  20. Laura–
    I do think that’s a very important aspect of travel, eradicationg the sense of superiority you mention. And the mind-expanding aspects of travel can most definitely occur without even leaving the reading chair, or computer keyboard!
    Maggie–
    You make a wonderful point about “too many place details”. Providing a sense of location while avoiding excess (mind-numbing) detail is a particular skill every writer strives for.
    Dorset it wonderful!

    Reply
  21. I visualize when I read- I love having minute details of costume, landscape, buildings and furniture. I adore it when an author adds sound to the description- the jingle of the harness and the steady clop clop of the horses’ hooves, trickle or splash of water in the country, cries of London vendors, the babble and clatter of the market, the music after dinner. It all helps me move into the world the author creates. It is best when the author describes from the point of view of the characters- what would the people in the novel have noticed? Certainly the clothing of their fellow characters if it was new or extravagant, or if it was inappropriate. They would notice buildings that were new to them, but not every one that they passed every day. I think the kind of detail you notice in your own life is a key to what detail you need in a book. Too much is distractiong, but too little is boring.

    Reply
  22. I visualize when I read- I love having minute details of costume, landscape, buildings and furniture. I adore it when an author adds sound to the description- the jingle of the harness and the steady clop clop of the horses’ hooves, trickle or splash of water in the country, cries of London vendors, the babble and clatter of the market, the music after dinner. It all helps me move into the world the author creates. It is best when the author describes from the point of view of the characters- what would the people in the novel have noticed? Certainly the clothing of their fellow characters if it was new or extravagant, or if it was inappropriate. They would notice buildings that were new to them, but not every one that they passed every day. I think the kind of detail you notice in your own life is a key to what detail you need in a book. Too much is distractiong, but too little is boring.

    Reply
  23. I visualize when I read- I love having minute details of costume, landscape, buildings and furniture. I adore it when an author adds sound to the description- the jingle of the harness and the steady clop clop of the horses’ hooves, trickle or splash of water in the country, cries of London vendors, the babble and clatter of the market, the music after dinner. It all helps me move into the world the author creates. It is best when the author describes from the point of view of the characters- what would the people in the novel have noticed? Certainly the clothing of their fellow characters if it was new or extravagant, or if it was inappropriate. They would notice buildings that were new to them, but not every one that they passed every day. I think the kind of detail you notice in your own life is a key to what detail you need in a book. Too much is distractiong, but too little is boring.

    Reply
  24. I visualize when I read- I love having minute details of costume, landscape, buildings and furniture. I adore it when an author adds sound to the description- the jingle of the harness and the steady clop clop of the horses’ hooves, trickle or splash of water in the country, cries of London vendors, the babble and clatter of the market, the music after dinner. It all helps me move into the world the author creates. It is best when the author describes from the point of view of the characters- what would the people in the novel have noticed? Certainly the clothing of their fellow characters if it was new or extravagant, or if it was inappropriate. They would notice buildings that were new to them, but not every one that they passed every day. I think the kind of detail you notice in your own life is a key to what detail you need in a book. Too much is distractiong, but too little is boring.

    Reply
  25. I visualize when I read- I love having minute details of costume, landscape, buildings and furniture. I adore it when an author adds sound to the description- the jingle of the harness and the steady clop clop of the horses’ hooves, trickle or splash of water in the country, cries of London vendors, the babble and clatter of the market, the music after dinner. It all helps me move into the world the author creates. It is best when the author describes from the point of view of the characters- what would the people in the novel have noticed? Certainly the clothing of their fellow characters if it was new or extravagant, or if it was inappropriate. They would notice buildings that were new to them, but not every one that they passed every day. I think the kind of detail you notice in your own life is a key to what detail you need in a book. Too much is distractiong, but too little is boring.

    Reply
  26. Wow, what a great post! I’m another travel addict. There’s just never enough time (or enough money, LOL!) to satisfy my wanderlust. And how lucky you are to have found a mate who so supports your mania. *grin*

    Reply
  27. Wow, what a great post! I’m another travel addict. There’s just never enough time (or enough money, LOL!) to satisfy my wanderlust. And how lucky you are to have found a mate who so supports your mania. *grin*

    Reply
  28. Wow, what a great post! I’m another travel addict. There’s just never enough time (or enough money, LOL!) to satisfy my wanderlust. And how lucky you are to have found a mate who so supports your mania. *grin*

    Reply
  29. Wow, what a great post! I’m another travel addict. There’s just never enough time (or enough money, LOL!) to satisfy my wanderlust. And how lucky you are to have found a mate who so supports your mania. *grin*

    Reply
  30. Wow, what a great post! I’m another travel addict. There’s just never enough time (or enough money, LOL!) to satisfy my wanderlust. And how lucky you are to have found a mate who so supports your mania. *grin*

    Reply
  31. When I was growing up, my parents took me on extensive car camping trips all around the U.S., so I grew up on national parks and developed an abiding love for mountains, historical sites, and natural wonders like geysers and volcanoes. I’m a happy city dweller now, but I’d still rather go to the mountains or a wild, rocky coast than a beach or resort, and I’m glad to be in Seattle where we’re so close to such natural magnificence.
    I was 20 before I made it out of the country, and I still feel under-traveled, since I’ve only been to the UK, Ireland, and Canada. But I did live in England for a year, in Bristol. I think that experience helped me write English settings better–I have more of a feel for the landscape and a better ear for British English than before.
    At this point in my life I almost never get to travel, between finances and the fact much of our vacation time is being eaten up by family commitments–the downside of choosing to live on the other side of the country from your family! So I can only research my settings through books, the internet, and, when I really need to “walk the ground,” Google Earth. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the time I get to feed my wanderlust again.
    As for books bringing a place to life, one thing I enjoyed about living in Bristol was being so close to Bath. I can’t think of one specific book, but I’d read so many Regencies set there that it was a thrill to finally be there.

    Reply
  32. When I was growing up, my parents took me on extensive car camping trips all around the U.S., so I grew up on national parks and developed an abiding love for mountains, historical sites, and natural wonders like geysers and volcanoes. I’m a happy city dweller now, but I’d still rather go to the mountains or a wild, rocky coast than a beach or resort, and I’m glad to be in Seattle where we’re so close to such natural magnificence.
    I was 20 before I made it out of the country, and I still feel under-traveled, since I’ve only been to the UK, Ireland, and Canada. But I did live in England for a year, in Bristol. I think that experience helped me write English settings better–I have more of a feel for the landscape and a better ear for British English than before.
    At this point in my life I almost never get to travel, between finances and the fact much of our vacation time is being eaten up by family commitments–the downside of choosing to live on the other side of the country from your family! So I can only research my settings through books, the internet, and, when I really need to “walk the ground,” Google Earth. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the time I get to feed my wanderlust again.
    As for books bringing a place to life, one thing I enjoyed about living in Bristol was being so close to Bath. I can’t think of one specific book, but I’d read so many Regencies set there that it was a thrill to finally be there.

    Reply
  33. When I was growing up, my parents took me on extensive car camping trips all around the U.S., so I grew up on national parks and developed an abiding love for mountains, historical sites, and natural wonders like geysers and volcanoes. I’m a happy city dweller now, but I’d still rather go to the mountains or a wild, rocky coast than a beach or resort, and I’m glad to be in Seattle where we’re so close to such natural magnificence.
    I was 20 before I made it out of the country, and I still feel under-traveled, since I’ve only been to the UK, Ireland, and Canada. But I did live in England for a year, in Bristol. I think that experience helped me write English settings better–I have more of a feel for the landscape and a better ear for British English than before.
    At this point in my life I almost never get to travel, between finances and the fact much of our vacation time is being eaten up by family commitments–the downside of choosing to live on the other side of the country from your family! So I can only research my settings through books, the internet, and, when I really need to “walk the ground,” Google Earth. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the time I get to feed my wanderlust again.
    As for books bringing a place to life, one thing I enjoyed about living in Bristol was being so close to Bath. I can’t think of one specific book, but I’d read so many Regencies set there that it was a thrill to finally be there.

    Reply
  34. When I was growing up, my parents took me on extensive car camping trips all around the U.S., so I grew up on national parks and developed an abiding love for mountains, historical sites, and natural wonders like geysers and volcanoes. I’m a happy city dweller now, but I’d still rather go to the mountains or a wild, rocky coast than a beach or resort, and I’m glad to be in Seattle where we’re so close to such natural magnificence.
    I was 20 before I made it out of the country, and I still feel under-traveled, since I’ve only been to the UK, Ireland, and Canada. But I did live in England for a year, in Bristol. I think that experience helped me write English settings better–I have more of a feel for the landscape and a better ear for British English than before.
    At this point in my life I almost never get to travel, between finances and the fact much of our vacation time is being eaten up by family commitments–the downside of choosing to live on the other side of the country from your family! So I can only research my settings through books, the internet, and, when I really need to “walk the ground,” Google Earth. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the time I get to feed my wanderlust again.
    As for books bringing a place to life, one thing I enjoyed about living in Bristol was being so close to Bath. I can’t think of one specific book, but I’d read so many Regencies set there that it was a thrill to finally be there.

    Reply
  35. When I was growing up, my parents took me on extensive car camping trips all around the U.S., so I grew up on national parks and developed an abiding love for mountains, historical sites, and natural wonders like geysers and volcanoes. I’m a happy city dweller now, but I’d still rather go to the mountains or a wild, rocky coast than a beach or resort, and I’m glad to be in Seattle where we’re so close to such natural magnificence.
    I was 20 before I made it out of the country, and I still feel under-traveled, since I’ve only been to the UK, Ireland, and Canada. But I did live in England for a year, in Bristol. I think that experience helped me write English settings better–I have more of a feel for the landscape and a better ear for British English than before.
    At this point in my life I almost never get to travel, between finances and the fact much of our vacation time is being eaten up by family commitments–the downside of choosing to live on the other side of the country from your family! So I can only research my settings through books, the internet, and, when I really need to “walk the ground,” Google Earth. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the time I get to feed my wanderlust again.
    As for books bringing a place to life, one thing I enjoyed about living in Bristol was being so close to Bath. I can’t think of one specific book, but I’d read so many Regencies set there that it was a thrill to finally be there.

    Reply
  36. If I may answer my own question about a story locale making me want to visit a real place…the answer is Yorkshire. Specifically the York Moors.
    The Secret Garden was a very important book in my childhood (partly responsible for the early love of roses). I read it before I ever visited England, and I was entranced by the notion of the wild moors.
    About that time, I acquired a boxful of the Illustrated Classics comic books. Don’t know if they were being published then, but someone had cleaned out an attic or cellar and passed them along to my dad to give to me–the bookworm.
    Before long the Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights volumes were in tatters, I read them so often!
    When I was about 11, I started reading the Brontes’ novels in full–not long before my first UK trip.
    Topmost on my list of “must sees”:
    you guessed it!

    Reply
  37. If I may answer my own question about a story locale making me want to visit a real place…the answer is Yorkshire. Specifically the York Moors.
    The Secret Garden was a very important book in my childhood (partly responsible for the early love of roses). I read it before I ever visited England, and I was entranced by the notion of the wild moors.
    About that time, I acquired a boxful of the Illustrated Classics comic books. Don’t know if they were being published then, but someone had cleaned out an attic or cellar and passed them along to my dad to give to me–the bookworm.
    Before long the Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights volumes were in tatters, I read them so often!
    When I was about 11, I started reading the Brontes’ novels in full–not long before my first UK trip.
    Topmost on my list of “must sees”:
    you guessed it!

    Reply
  38. If I may answer my own question about a story locale making me want to visit a real place…the answer is Yorkshire. Specifically the York Moors.
    The Secret Garden was a very important book in my childhood (partly responsible for the early love of roses). I read it before I ever visited England, and I was entranced by the notion of the wild moors.
    About that time, I acquired a boxful of the Illustrated Classics comic books. Don’t know if they were being published then, but someone had cleaned out an attic or cellar and passed them along to my dad to give to me–the bookworm.
    Before long the Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights volumes were in tatters, I read them so often!
    When I was about 11, I started reading the Brontes’ novels in full–not long before my first UK trip.
    Topmost on my list of “must sees”:
    you guessed it!

    Reply
  39. If I may answer my own question about a story locale making me want to visit a real place…the answer is Yorkshire. Specifically the York Moors.
    The Secret Garden was a very important book in my childhood (partly responsible for the early love of roses). I read it before I ever visited England, and I was entranced by the notion of the wild moors.
    About that time, I acquired a boxful of the Illustrated Classics comic books. Don’t know if they were being published then, but someone had cleaned out an attic or cellar and passed them along to my dad to give to me–the bookworm.
    Before long the Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights volumes were in tatters, I read them so often!
    When I was about 11, I started reading the Brontes’ novels in full–not long before my first UK trip.
    Topmost on my list of “must sees”:
    you guessed it!

    Reply
  40. If I may answer my own question about a story locale making me want to visit a real place…the answer is Yorkshire. Specifically the York Moors.
    The Secret Garden was a very important book in my childhood (partly responsible for the early love of roses). I read it before I ever visited England, and I was entranced by the notion of the wild moors.
    About that time, I acquired a boxful of the Illustrated Classics comic books. Don’t know if they were being published then, but someone had cleaned out an attic or cellar and passed them along to my dad to give to me–the bookworm.
    Before long the Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights volumes were in tatters, I read them so often!
    When I was about 11, I started reading the Brontes’ novels in full–not long before my first UK trip.
    Topmost on my list of “must sees”:
    you guessed it!

    Reply
  41. Hello Margaret,
    One of the many things I enjoy about historical romances is visiting a place and time that I know nothing about. Music of the Night by Lydia Joyce is set in Venice and the author did such a wonderful job describing it that I could just picture the water everywhere.

    Reply
  42. Hello Margaret,
    One of the many things I enjoy about historical romances is visiting a place and time that I know nothing about. Music of the Night by Lydia Joyce is set in Venice and the author did such a wonderful job describing it that I could just picture the water everywhere.

    Reply
  43. Hello Margaret,
    One of the many things I enjoy about historical romances is visiting a place and time that I know nothing about. Music of the Night by Lydia Joyce is set in Venice and the author did such a wonderful job describing it that I could just picture the water everywhere.

    Reply
  44. Hello Margaret,
    One of the many things I enjoy about historical romances is visiting a place and time that I know nothing about. Music of the Night by Lydia Joyce is set in Venice and the author did such a wonderful job describing it that I could just picture the water everywhere.

    Reply
  45. Hello Margaret,
    One of the many things I enjoy about historical romances is visiting a place and time that I know nothing about. Music of the Night by Lydia Joyce is set in Venice and the author did such a wonderful job describing it that I could just picture the water everywhere.

    Reply
  46. I’m a natural born traveler too!
    For my 30th b-day, my sister surprised me with a trip to Italy. (I took her to Athens for hers.) When she was choosing the destination, she sent me a clever email saying someone wanted recommendations for the neatest places to travel abroad. At the time, I was reading a Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ novel that took place in Italy, and I told her that a book I was reading at the moment really made me want to go to Tuscany. 🙂
    I did also read a bunch of other books about or taking place in Italy before I went. I love to do that before a trip.
    I also went to Chatsworth a few weeks ago, and a big part of my desire to go there was the “rumor” that Pemberly was based on Chatsworth. A lot of the places I’ve visited – or still want to visit – in England have literary (or historical) ties.

    Reply
  47. I’m a natural born traveler too!
    For my 30th b-day, my sister surprised me with a trip to Italy. (I took her to Athens for hers.) When she was choosing the destination, she sent me a clever email saying someone wanted recommendations for the neatest places to travel abroad. At the time, I was reading a Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ novel that took place in Italy, and I told her that a book I was reading at the moment really made me want to go to Tuscany. 🙂
    I did also read a bunch of other books about or taking place in Italy before I went. I love to do that before a trip.
    I also went to Chatsworth a few weeks ago, and a big part of my desire to go there was the “rumor” that Pemberly was based on Chatsworth. A lot of the places I’ve visited – or still want to visit – in England have literary (or historical) ties.

    Reply
  48. I’m a natural born traveler too!
    For my 30th b-day, my sister surprised me with a trip to Italy. (I took her to Athens for hers.) When she was choosing the destination, she sent me a clever email saying someone wanted recommendations for the neatest places to travel abroad. At the time, I was reading a Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ novel that took place in Italy, and I told her that a book I was reading at the moment really made me want to go to Tuscany. 🙂
    I did also read a bunch of other books about or taking place in Italy before I went. I love to do that before a trip.
    I also went to Chatsworth a few weeks ago, and a big part of my desire to go there was the “rumor” that Pemberly was based on Chatsworth. A lot of the places I’ve visited – or still want to visit – in England have literary (or historical) ties.

    Reply
  49. I’m a natural born traveler too!
    For my 30th b-day, my sister surprised me with a trip to Italy. (I took her to Athens for hers.) When she was choosing the destination, she sent me a clever email saying someone wanted recommendations for the neatest places to travel abroad. At the time, I was reading a Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ novel that took place in Italy, and I told her that a book I was reading at the moment really made me want to go to Tuscany. 🙂
    I did also read a bunch of other books about or taking place in Italy before I went. I love to do that before a trip.
    I also went to Chatsworth a few weeks ago, and a big part of my desire to go there was the “rumor” that Pemberly was based on Chatsworth. A lot of the places I’ve visited – or still want to visit – in England have literary (or historical) ties.

    Reply
  50. I’m a natural born traveler too!
    For my 30th b-day, my sister surprised me with a trip to Italy. (I took her to Athens for hers.) When she was choosing the destination, she sent me a clever email saying someone wanted recommendations for the neatest places to travel abroad. At the time, I was reading a Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ novel that took place in Italy, and I told her that a book I was reading at the moment really made me want to go to Tuscany. 🙂
    I did also read a bunch of other books about or taking place in Italy before I went. I love to do that before a trip.
    I also went to Chatsworth a few weeks ago, and a big part of my desire to go there was the “rumor” that Pemberly was based on Chatsworth. A lot of the places I’ve visited – or still want to visit – in England have literary (or historical) ties.

    Reply
  51. What an interesting post!
    One book – or series of books that answers all three of these questions… What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?… Would be Linda Jacob’s Yellowstone series. The first book in the series, Summer of Fire is based on the the fires in 1988. The next book, Rain of Fire is more of a what would/could happen. And, the third book, Lake of Fire is a historical. All three books totally bring to life in vivid descriptions the breathtaking beauty of Yellowstone.

    Reply
  52. What an interesting post!
    One book – or series of books that answers all three of these questions… What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?… Would be Linda Jacob’s Yellowstone series. The first book in the series, Summer of Fire is based on the the fires in 1988. The next book, Rain of Fire is more of a what would/could happen. And, the third book, Lake of Fire is a historical. All three books totally bring to life in vivid descriptions the breathtaking beauty of Yellowstone.

    Reply
  53. What an interesting post!
    One book – or series of books that answers all three of these questions… What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?… Would be Linda Jacob’s Yellowstone series. The first book in the series, Summer of Fire is based on the the fires in 1988. The next book, Rain of Fire is more of a what would/could happen. And, the third book, Lake of Fire is a historical. All three books totally bring to life in vivid descriptions the breathtaking beauty of Yellowstone.

    Reply
  54. What an interesting post!
    One book – or series of books that answers all three of these questions… What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?… Would be Linda Jacob’s Yellowstone series. The first book in the series, Summer of Fire is based on the the fires in 1988. The next book, Rain of Fire is more of a what would/could happen. And, the third book, Lake of Fire is a historical. All three books totally bring to life in vivid descriptions the breathtaking beauty of Yellowstone.

    Reply
  55. What an interesting post!
    One book – or series of books that answers all three of these questions… What favourite novel brought a specific location to life for you? Do you ever long to visit a place you first discovered in a book? Can you tell whether the author visited the places she writes about?… Would be Linda Jacob’s Yellowstone series. The first book in the series, Summer of Fire is based on the the fires in 1988. The next book, Rain of Fire is more of a what would/could happen. And, the third book, Lake of Fire is a historical. All three books totally bring to life in vivid descriptions the breathtaking beauty of Yellowstone.

    Reply
  56. One of those constant writing challenges is “how much detail is enough, how much is too much?” and that applies to places as much as it does clothing and furnishings. (When a friend bought one of my early books, she asked warily if it was one of those clothes-and-house books. I assured her it wasn’t. :))
    It’s an unanswerable question, because readers vary in what they want to read as much as writers vary in what they want to write. As a reader, I like enough details of sight, sound, scent, etc. to bring a place alive, but I’m not wild about long paragraphs of description. So it’s not surprising that as a writer I’m not all of that detailed, either. But a few carefully chosen details can make an amazing difference.
    As to books I’ve read that make me want to visit a place–lots! Many years ago I read a Phyllis Whitney book set in Cape Town. There are descriptions of Table Rock, the great flat topped mountain that looms over the city, and a scented garden for the blind. Two years ago I got to Cape Town, and it was even more beautiful than I imagined.
    And those Mary Stewart books set on Greek Islands! I’ve wanted to to visit ever since. (I made it to a couple of them four years ago.) She was a master of the evocative, poetic description in all of her books. And I suspect that she visited all of those great places and wrote off the travel expenses. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  57. One of those constant writing challenges is “how much detail is enough, how much is too much?” and that applies to places as much as it does clothing and furnishings. (When a friend bought one of my early books, she asked warily if it was one of those clothes-and-house books. I assured her it wasn’t. :))
    It’s an unanswerable question, because readers vary in what they want to read as much as writers vary in what they want to write. As a reader, I like enough details of sight, sound, scent, etc. to bring a place alive, but I’m not wild about long paragraphs of description. So it’s not surprising that as a writer I’m not all of that detailed, either. But a few carefully chosen details can make an amazing difference.
    As to books I’ve read that make me want to visit a place–lots! Many years ago I read a Phyllis Whitney book set in Cape Town. There are descriptions of Table Rock, the great flat topped mountain that looms over the city, and a scented garden for the blind. Two years ago I got to Cape Town, and it was even more beautiful than I imagined.
    And those Mary Stewart books set on Greek Islands! I’ve wanted to to visit ever since. (I made it to a couple of them four years ago.) She was a master of the evocative, poetic description in all of her books. And I suspect that she visited all of those great places and wrote off the travel expenses. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  58. One of those constant writing challenges is “how much detail is enough, how much is too much?” and that applies to places as much as it does clothing and furnishings. (When a friend bought one of my early books, she asked warily if it was one of those clothes-and-house books. I assured her it wasn’t. :))
    It’s an unanswerable question, because readers vary in what they want to read as much as writers vary in what they want to write. As a reader, I like enough details of sight, sound, scent, etc. to bring a place alive, but I’m not wild about long paragraphs of description. So it’s not surprising that as a writer I’m not all of that detailed, either. But a few carefully chosen details can make an amazing difference.
    As to books I’ve read that make me want to visit a place–lots! Many years ago I read a Phyllis Whitney book set in Cape Town. There are descriptions of Table Rock, the great flat topped mountain that looms over the city, and a scented garden for the blind. Two years ago I got to Cape Town, and it was even more beautiful than I imagined.
    And those Mary Stewart books set on Greek Islands! I’ve wanted to to visit ever since. (I made it to a couple of them four years ago.) She was a master of the evocative, poetic description in all of her books. And I suspect that she visited all of those great places and wrote off the travel expenses. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  59. One of those constant writing challenges is “how much detail is enough, how much is too much?” and that applies to places as much as it does clothing and furnishings. (When a friend bought one of my early books, she asked warily if it was one of those clothes-and-house books. I assured her it wasn’t. :))
    It’s an unanswerable question, because readers vary in what they want to read as much as writers vary in what they want to write. As a reader, I like enough details of sight, sound, scent, etc. to bring a place alive, but I’m not wild about long paragraphs of description. So it’s not surprising that as a writer I’m not all of that detailed, either. But a few carefully chosen details can make an amazing difference.
    As to books I’ve read that make me want to visit a place–lots! Many years ago I read a Phyllis Whitney book set in Cape Town. There are descriptions of Table Rock, the great flat topped mountain that looms over the city, and a scented garden for the blind. Two years ago I got to Cape Town, and it was even more beautiful than I imagined.
    And those Mary Stewart books set on Greek Islands! I’ve wanted to to visit ever since. (I made it to a couple of them four years ago.) She was a master of the evocative, poetic description in all of her books. And I suspect that she visited all of those great places and wrote off the travel expenses. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  60. One of those constant writing challenges is “how much detail is enough, how much is too much?” and that applies to places as much as it does clothing and furnishings. (When a friend bought one of my early books, she asked warily if it was one of those clothes-and-house books. I assured her it wasn’t. :))
    It’s an unanswerable question, because readers vary in what they want to read as much as writers vary in what they want to write. As a reader, I like enough details of sight, sound, scent, etc. to bring a place alive, but I’m not wild about long paragraphs of description. So it’s not surprising that as a writer I’m not all of that detailed, either. But a few carefully chosen details can make an amazing difference.
    As to books I’ve read that make me want to visit a place–lots! Many years ago I read a Phyllis Whitney book set in Cape Town. There are descriptions of Table Rock, the great flat topped mountain that looms over the city, and a scented garden for the blind. Two years ago I got to Cape Town, and it was even more beautiful than I imagined.
    And those Mary Stewart books set on Greek Islands! I’ve wanted to to visit ever since. (I made it to a couple of them four years ago.) She was a master of the evocative, poetic description in all of her books. And I suspect that she visited all of those great places and wrote off the travel expenses. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  61. How nice to know about the Yellowstone Series, it sounds fascinating. (Blushing admission: I’ve been in 38 of the 50 states but haven’t yet visited Yellowstone. Although I’ve seen New Zealand’s version of it!)
    Mary Jo makes a good point about “how much is too much?”
    Many readers have become familiar with certain historical or Regency settings. Anyone who’s read Heyer probably has a good idea of what Bath and London’s Mayfair are like. Meaning today’s author can easily dispense with effusive descriptions of the Crescent, or St. James’s Street clubs.
    I’ve got a mantra–actually I’ve got way more than one, to keep me on track. The pertinent one for this conversation is, “It’s about the people, stupid!”
    Gretchen made good points, worth remembering: setting is best revealed through viewpoint, and a character isn’t likely to be overly aware of the familiar!
    In research, I’m always seeking the “telling” detail. A perfect phrase or several sentences that serve the scene better than a dense paragraph of info-dumping (which we all know can grind the action to a dead halt.)
    As a regular reader of classic literature, I’m completely on board with descriptive passages, beautifully realised–almost poetic–depictions. (I’m thinking of E.M. Forster and Italy). Of place or weather or whatever else evokes the atmosphere. I know what to expect going in, and am even seeking that level of detail. It’s an important part of the reading experience.
    But I’m quite sure that isn’t what my readers are looking for from me. (Nor would my editors care to edit it!)
    Mary Jo’s comment has reminded me of This Rough Magic. If Stewart wrote off her travel costs to Corfu, she certainly deserved to!

    Reply
  62. How nice to know about the Yellowstone Series, it sounds fascinating. (Blushing admission: I’ve been in 38 of the 50 states but haven’t yet visited Yellowstone. Although I’ve seen New Zealand’s version of it!)
    Mary Jo makes a good point about “how much is too much?”
    Many readers have become familiar with certain historical or Regency settings. Anyone who’s read Heyer probably has a good idea of what Bath and London’s Mayfair are like. Meaning today’s author can easily dispense with effusive descriptions of the Crescent, or St. James’s Street clubs.
    I’ve got a mantra–actually I’ve got way more than one, to keep me on track. The pertinent one for this conversation is, “It’s about the people, stupid!”
    Gretchen made good points, worth remembering: setting is best revealed through viewpoint, and a character isn’t likely to be overly aware of the familiar!
    In research, I’m always seeking the “telling” detail. A perfect phrase or several sentences that serve the scene better than a dense paragraph of info-dumping (which we all know can grind the action to a dead halt.)
    As a regular reader of classic literature, I’m completely on board with descriptive passages, beautifully realised–almost poetic–depictions. (I’m thinking of E.M. Forster and Italy). Of place or weather or whatever else evokes the atmosphere. I know what to expect going in, and am even seeking that level of detail. It’s an important part of the reading experience.
    But I’m quite sure that isn’t what my readers are looking for from me. (Nor would my editors care to edit it!)
    Mary Jo’s comment has reminded me of This Rough Magic. If Stewart wrote off her travel costs to Corfu, she certainly deserved to!

    Reply
  63. How nice to know about the Yellowstone Series, it sounds fascinating. (Blushing admission: I’ve been in 38 of the 50 states but haven’t yet visited Yellowstone. Although I’ve seen New Zealand’s version of it!)
    Mary Jo makes a good point about “how much is too much?”
    Many readers have become familiar with certain historical or Regency settings. Anyone who’s read Heyer probably has a good idea of what Bath and London’s Mayfair are like. Meaning today’s author can easily dispense with effusive descriptions of the Crescent, or St. James’s Street clubs.
    I’ve got a mantra–actually I’ve got way more than one, to keep me on track. The pertinent one for this conversation is, “It’s about the people, stupid!”
    Gretchen made good points, worth remembering: setting is best revealed through viewpoint, and a character isn’t likely to be overly aware of the familiar!
    In research, I’m always seeking the “telling” detail. A perfect phrase or several sentences that serve the scene better than a dense paragraph of info-dumping (which we all know can grind the action to a dead halt.)
    As a regular reader of classic literature, I’m completely on board with descriptive passages, beautifully realised–almost poetic–depictions. (I’m thinking of E.M. Forster and Italy). Of place or weather or whatever else evokes the atmosphere. I know what to expect going in, and am even seeking that level of detail. It’s an important part of the reading experience.
    But I’m quite sure that isn’t what my readers are looking for from me. (Nor would my editors care to edit it!)
    Mary Jo’s comment has reminded me of This Rough Magic. If Stewart wrote off her travel costs to Corfu, she certainly deserved to!

    Reply
  64. How nice to know about the Yellowstone Series, it sounds fascinating. (Blushing admission: I’ve been in 38 of the 50 states but haven’t yet visited Yellowstone. Although I’ve seen New Zealand’s version of it!)
    Mary Jo makes a good point about “how much is too much?”
    Many readers have become familiar with certain historical or Regency settings. Anyone who’s read Heyer probably has a good idea of what Bath and London’s Mayfair are like. Meaning today’s author can easily dispense with effusive descriptions of the Crescent, or St. James’s Street clubs.
    I’ve got a mantra–actually I’ve got way more than one, to keep me on track. The pertinent one for this conversation is, “It’s about the people, stupid!”
    Gretchen made good points, worth remembering: setting is best revealed through viewpoint, and a character isn’t likely to be overly aware of the familiar!
    In research, I’m always seeking the “telling” detail. A perfect phrase or several sentences that serve the scene better than a dense paragraph of info-dumping (which we all know can grind the action to a dead halt.)
    As a regular reader of classic literature, I’m completely on board with descriptive passages, beautifully realised–almost poetic–depictions. (I’m thinking of E.M. Forster and Italy). Of place or weather or whatever else evokes the atmosphere. I know what to expect going in, and am even seeking that level of detail. It’s an important part of the reading experience.
    But I’m quite sure that isn’t what my readers are looking for from me. (Nor would my editors care to edit it!)
    Mary Jo’s comment has reminded me of This Rough Magic. If Stewart wrote off her travel costs to Corfu, she certainly deserved to!

    Reply
  65. How nice to know about the Yellowstone Series, it sounds fascinating. (Blushing admission: I’ve been in 38 of the 50 states but haven’t yet visited Yellowstone. Although I’ve seen New Zealand’s version of it!)
    Mary Jo makes a good point about “how much is too much?”
    Many readers have become familiar with certain historical or Regency settings. Anyone who’s read Heyer probably has a good idea of what Bath and London’s Mayfair are like. Meaning today’s author can easily dispense with effusive descriptions of the Crescent, or St. James’s Street clubs.
    I’ve got a mantra–actually I’ve got way more than one, to keep me on track. The pertinent one for this conversation is, “It’s about the people, stupid!”
    Gretchen made good points, worth remembering: setting is best revealed through viewpoint, and a character isn’t likely to be overly aware of the familiar!
    In research, I’m always seeking the “telling” detail. A perfect phrase or several sentences that serve the scene better than a dense paragraph of info-dumping (which we all know can grind the action to a dead halt.)
    As a regular reader of classic literature, I’m completely on board with descriptive passages, beautifully realised–almost poetic–depictions. (I’m thinking of E.M. Forster and Italy). Of place or weather or whatever else evokes the atmosphere. I know what to expect going in, and am even seeking that level of detail. It’s an important part of the reading experience.
    But I’m quite sure that isn’t what my readers are looking for from me. (Nor would my editors care to edit it!)
    Mary Jo’s comment has reminded me of This Rough Magic. If Stewart wrote off her travel costs to Corfu, she certainly deserved to!

    Reply
  66. Point of clarification: I do keep score for US states. It’s a double defence mechanism. My husband has been in all 50, plus a lot of territories, and needs reminding that he’s not married to a domestic travel slacker. Plus, it refutes any suspcion that I might be spending so much time in foreign lands that I’m not also exploring the country in which I happen to live!

    Reply
  67. Point of clarification: I do keep score for US states. It’s a double defence mechanism. My husband has been in all 50, plus a lot of territories, and needs reminding that he’s not married to a domestic travel slacker. Plus, it refutes any suspcion that I might be spending so much time in foreign lands that I’m not also exploring the country in which I happen to live!

    Reply
  68. Point of clarification: I do keep score for US states. It’s a double defence mechanism. My husband has been in all 50, plus a lot of territories, and needs reminding that he’s not married to a domestic travel slacker. Plus, it refutes any suspcion that I might be spending so much time in foreign lands that I’m not also exploring the country in which I happen to live!

    Reply
  69. Point of clarification: I do keep score for US states. It’s a double defence mechanism. My husband has been in all 50, plus a lot of territories, and needs reminding that he’s not married to a domestic travel slacker. Plus, it refutes any suspcion that I might be spending so much time in foreign lands that I’m not also exploring the country in which I happen to live!

    Reply
  70. Point of clarification: I do keep score for US states. It’s a double defence mechanism. My husband has been in all 50, plus a lot of territories, and needs reminding that he’s not married to a domestic travel slacker. Plus, it refutes any suspcion that I might be spending so much time in foreign lands that I’m not also exploring the country in which I happen to live!

    Reply
  71. What an absolutely delicious post! I would love to know when you have travel writings published.
    One of the places I most longed to visit in all the world was Ightham Mote from Anya Seton’s GREEN DARKNESS. It was the place where a real skeleton was found inside the walls, and inspired Seton to write the novel, which was my favorite when I was a young woman.
    I did have a chance to visit on my first trip abroad, and it was beyond magical. I can still see the way the light shone over the bowling green and glittered on the moat. (A moat!) I glowed with it for months.

    Reply
  72. What an absolutely delicious post! I would love to know when you have travel writings published.
    One of the places I most longed to visit in all the world was Ightham Mote from Anya Seton’s GREEN DARKNESS. It was the place where a real skeleton was found inside the walls, and inspired Seton to write the novel, which was my favorite when I was a young woman.
    I did have a chance to visit on my first trip abroad, and it was beyond magical. I can still see the way the light shone over the bowling green and glittered on the moat. (A moat!) I glowed with it for months.

    Reply
  73. What an absolutely delicious post! I would love to know when you have travel writings published.
    One of the places I most longed to visit in all the world was Ightham Mote from Anya Seton’s GREEN DARKNESS. It was the place where a real skeleton was found inside the walls, and inspired Seton to write the novel, which was my favorite when I was a young woman.
    I did have a chance to visit on my first trip abroad, and it was beyond magical. I can still see the way the light shone over the bowling green and glittered on the moat. (A moat!) I glowed with it for months.

    Reply
  74. What an absolutely delicious post! I would love to know when you have travel writings published.
    One of the places I most longed to visit in all the world was Ightham Mote from Anya Seton’s GREEN DARKNESS. It was the place where a real skeleton was found inside the walls, and inspired Seton to write the novel, which was my favorite when I was a young woman.
    I did have a chance to visit on my first trip abroad, and it was beyond magical. I can still see the way the light shone over the bowling green and glittered on the moat. (A moat!) I glowed with it for months.

    Reply
  75. What an absolutely delicious post! I would love to know when you have travel writings published.
    One of the places I most longed to visit in all the world was Ightham Mote from Anya Seton’s GREEN DARKNESS. It was the place where a real skeleton was found inside the walls, and inspired Seton to write the novel, which was my favorite when I was a young woman.
    I did have a chance to visit on my first trip abroad, and it was beyond magical. I can still see the way the light shone over the bowling green and glittered on the moat. (A moat!) I glowed with it for months.

    Reply
  76. Your way of travelling sounds wonderful, like a lot of lovely holidays in quick succesion. I would like to do that if I could afford it. But I always say the travelling gene has missed me, because my sister is the real traveller. She would take her backpack and go away for a couple of years. Me, I like to know where I am going to sleep all the nights I am away, and I take enough clean underwear to last me till I come home. The stories travellers come home with about hunger, thirst and no place to sleep, always fill me with horror.

    Reply
  77. Your way of travelling sounds wonderful, like a lot of lovely holidays in quick succesion. I would like to do that if I could afford it. But I always say the travelling gene has missed me, because my sister is the real traveller. She would take her backpack and go away for a couple of years. Me, I like to know where I am going to sleep all the nights I am away, and I take enough clean underwear to last me till I come home. The stories travellers come home with about hunger, thirst and no place to sleep, always fill me with horror.

    Reply
  78. Your way of travelling sounds wonderful, like a lot of lovely holidays in quick succesion. I would like to do that if I could afford it. But I always say the travelling gene has missed me, because my sister is the real traveller. She would take her backpack and go away for a couple of years. Me, I like to know where I am going to sleep all the nights I am away, and I take enough clean underwear to last me till I come home. The stories travellers come home with about hunger, thirst and no place to sleep, always fill me with horror.

    Reply
  79. Your way of travelling sounds wonderful, like a lot of lovely holidays in quick succesion. I would like to do that if I could afford it. But I always say the travelling gene has missed me, because my sister is the real traveller. She would take her backpack and go away for a couple of years. Me, I like to know where I am going to sleep all the nights I am away, and I take enough clean underwear to last me till I come home. The stories travellers come home with about hunger, thirst and no place to sleep, always fill me with horror.

    Reply
  80. Your way of travelling sounds wonderful, like a lot of lovely holidays in quick succesion. I would like to do that if I could afford it. But I always say the travelling gene has missed me, because my sister is the real traveller. She would take her backpack and go away for a couple of years. Me, I like to know where I am going to sleep all the nights I am away, and I take enough clean underwear to last me till I come home. The stories travellers come home with about hunger, thirst and no place to sleep, always fill me with horror.

    Reply
  81. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  82. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  83. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  84. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  85. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  86. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  87. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  88. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  89. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  90. Oh Margaret. you are the perfect traveller – you travel to see new things. A lot of people travel to reinforce their old ideas.
    I, for example, never see what’s new, rather, I try to recreate the old. At least, I do when I’m abroad. (The best way to counteract that, for me, is to travel with a child. But they keep growing up!)
    You however seem to have aced the process. Thank you for sharing. Please keep at it for us armchair travellers. Can’t wait to read your next, fiction or non.

    Reply
  91. I really hope you are going to incorporate Vienna and Pressburg into a novel – and I am definitly going to buy it. The territory that later became the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy is sadly underused in romance novels, even though the area and its very varied (and admittedly, complicated) history would make a great backdrop for romance. Well, being Austrian I am partial to the whole region.
    Generally speaking, I really don’t know if my love for historical romances set in England sparked my love for the UK, or the other way round. I have been to quite a few places that are commonly mentioned in romances – when well done, it is very fun to explore a book and a region/town at the same time. It can be distracting, though, when there is something wrong! One of the view romances set in Vienna I ever read went on and on about the “Ring Road” with its impressive buildings. I could tell the author had been there, only the novel was set in 1848 and the ring road was built around 1900…. (sorry to get off track, here)

    Reply
  92. I really hope you are going to incorporate Vienna and Pressburg into a novel – and I am definitly going to buy it. The territory that later became the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy is sadly underused in romance novels, even though the area and its very varied (and admittedly, complicated) history would make a great backdrop for romance. Well, being Austrian I am partial to the whole region.
    Generally speaking, I really don’t know if my love for historical romances set in England sparked my love for the UK, or the other way round. I have been to quite a few places that are commonly mentioned in romances – when well done, it is very fun to explore a book and a region/town at the same time. It can be distracting, though, when there is something wrong! One of the view romances set in Vienna I ever read went on and on about the “Ring Road” with its impressive buildings. I could tell the author had been there, only the novel was set in 1848 and the ring road was built around 1900…. (sorry to get off track, here)

    Reply
  93. I really hope you are going to incorporate Vienna and Pressburg into a novel – and I am definitly going to buy it. The territory that later became the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy is sadly underused in romance novels, even though the area and its very varied (and admittedly, complicated) history would make a great backdrop for romance. Well, being Austrian I am partial to the whole region.
    Generally speaking, I really don’t know if my love for historical romances set in England sparked my love for the UK, or the other way round. I have been to quite a few places that are commonly mentioned in romances – when well done, it is very fun to explore a book and a region/town at the same time. It can be distracting, though, when there is something wrong! One of the view romances set in Vienna I ever read went on and on about the “Ring Road” with its impressive buildings. I could tell the author had been there, only the novel was set in 1848 and the ring road was built around 1900…. (sorry to get off track, here)

    Reply
  94. I really hope you are going to incorporate Vienna and Pressburg into a novel – and I am definitly going to buy it. The territory that later became the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy is sadly underused in romance novels, even though the area and its very varied (and admittedly, complicated) history would make a great backdrop for romance. Well, being Austrian I am partial to the whole region.
    Generally speaking, I really don’t know if my love for historical romances set in England sparked my love for the UK, or the other way round. I have been to quite a few places that are commonly mentioned in romances – when well done, it is very fun to explore a book and a region/town at the same time. It can be distracting, though, when there is something wrong! One of the view romances set in Vienna I ever read went on and on about the “Ring Road” with its impressive buildings. I could tell the author had been there, only the novel was set in 1848 and the ring road was built around 1900…. (sorry to get off track, here)

    Reply
  95. I really hope you are going to incorporate Vienna and Pressburg into a novel – and I am definitly going to buy it. The territory that later became the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy is sadly underused in romance novels, even though the area and its very varied (and admittedly, complicated) history would make a great backdrop for romance. Well, being Austrian I am partial to the whole region.
    Generally speaking, I really don’t know if my love for historical romances set in England sparked my love for the UK, or the other way round. I have been to quite a few places that are commonly mentioned in romances – when well done, it is very fun to explore a book and a region/town at the same time. It can be distracting, though, when there is something wrong! One of the view romances set in Vienna I ever read went on and on about the “Ring Road” with its impressive buildings. I could tell the author had been there, only the novel was set in 1848 and the ring road was built around 1900…. (sorry to get off track, here)

    Reply
  96. Barbara–
    Many, or rather most of my more recent travel writings have been for a newspaper. For a certain period of time they’re available as web content for a certain, then the window closes. I don’t have any open windows right now! I expect to get at least one new piece from the upcoming journey! Oh, and Ightham Mote is still on my list…I’ve been near it but not actually there. Green Darkness was a favourite of my. Also by Anya Seton, Katherine (of course)–similarly, I’ve been in Lincolnshire but not the part where her manor of Kettlethorpe is located. Now that there’s a new Katherine Swynford biography, my interest in her and that region has sparked again!
    Lauren–
    In the times when I’ve not been able to travel myself, I’ve been so thankful for other writers who can take me away to different places, different times!
    LizA–
    My current project isn’t a romance, though it does contain romantic relationships (and many others: parent-child, uncle-nephew, master-servant, monarch-subject. I agree about that part of Europe being under-utilised.
    The degree to which readers (and writers) are adventurous in terms of setting varies so widely. Publishers, seeking the highest possible profits, tend to be risk-averse. But with new formats for publishing, and new combinations of genres and subgenres coming to the fore, there may be room for more exploration.
    Ingrid–
    In all honesty, I’m not a rough traveller. Never was, much, but maturity brings an even greater desire for mod cons.
    This is why my husband, in addition to tallying his states and countries, is racking up the continents a lot faster than I. When he felt the urge to backpack through a remote part of Western Africa, he dropped me off in the UK to do my solo thing. He comes back with great stories. (My favourite is his “Stone Soup” supper in a village in Ecaudor.)
    My criteria include but may not be limited to:
    Do I need shots? (I don’t recall visiting any place requiring shots–yet.)
    Is there hot running water? (As this might exclude certain B&B’s in the UK, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker!)
    I tell myself I’m leaving roughest sort of travelling for the time I’ve run out the so-called “civilised” places!
    Many thanks for all your interesting comments and observations!

    Reply
  97. Barbara–
    Many, or rather most of my more recent travel writings have been for a newspaper. For a certain period of time they’re available as web content for a certain, then the window closes. I don’t have any open windows right now! I expect to get at least one new piece from the upcoming journey! Oh, and Ightham Mote is still on my list…I’ve been near it but not actually there. Green Darkness was a favourite of my. Also by Anya Seton, Katherine (of course)–similarly, I’ve been in Lincolnshire but not the part where her manor of Kettlethorpe is located. Now that there’s a new Katherine Swynford biography, my interest in her and that region has sparked again!
    Lauren–
    In the times when I’ve not been able to travel myself, I’ve been so thankful for other writers who can take me away to different places, different times!
    LizA–
    My current project isn’t a romance, though it does contain romantic relationships (and many others: parent-child, uncle-nephew, master-servant, monarch-subject. I agree about that part of Europe being under-utilised.
    The degree to which readers (and writers) are adventurous in terms of setting varies so widely. Publishers, seeking the highest possible profits, tend to be risk-averse. But with new formats for publishing, and new combinations of genres and subgenres coming to the fore, there may be room for more exploration.
    Ingrid–
    In all honesty, I’m not a rough traveller. Never was, much, but maturity brings an even greater desire for mod cons.
    This is why my husband, in addition to tallying his states and countries, is racking up the continents a lot faster than I. When he felt the urge to backpack through a remote part of Western Africa, he dropped me off in the UK to do my solo thing. He comes back with great stories. (My favourite is his “Stone Soup” supper in a village in Ecaudor.)
    My criteria include but may not be limited to:
    Do I need shots? (I don’t recall visiting any place requiring shots–yet.)
    Is there hot running water? (As this might exclude certain B&B’s in the UK, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker!)
    I tell myself I’m leaving roughest sort of travelling for the time I’ve run out the so-called “civilised” places!
    Many thanks for all your interesting comments and observations!

    Reply
  98. Barbara–
    Many, or rather most of my more recent travel writings have been for a newspaper. For a certain period of time they’re available as web content for a certain, then the window closes. I don’t have any open windows right now! I expect to get at least one new piece from the upcoming journey! Oh, and Ightham Mote is still on my list…I’ve been near it but not actually there. Green Darkness was a favourite of my. Also by Anya Seton, Katherine (of course)–similarly, I’ve been in Lincolnshire but not the part where her manor of Kettlethorpe is located. Now that there’s a new Katherine Swynford biography, my interest in her and that region has sparked again!
    Lauren–
    In the times when I’ve not been able to travel myself, I’ve been so thankful for other writers who can take me away to different places, different times!
    LizA–
    My current project isn’t a romance, though it does contain romantic relationships (and many others: parent-child, uncle-nephew, master-servant, monarch-subject. I agree about that part of Europe being under-utilised.
    The degree to which readers (and writers) are adventurous in terms of setting varies so widely. Publishers, seeking the highest possible profits, tend to be risk-averse. But with new formats for publishing, and new combinations of genres and subgenres coming to the fore, there may be room for more exploration.
    Ingrid–
    In all honesty, I’m not a rough traveller. Never was, much, but maturity brings an even greater desire for mod cons.
    This is why my husband, in addition to tallying his states and countries, is racking up the continents a lot faster than I. When he felt the urge to backpack through a remote part of Western Africa, he dropped me off in the UK to do my solo thing. He comes back with great stories. (My favourite is his “Stone Soup” supper in a village in Ecaudor.)
    My criteria include but may not be limited to:
    Do I need shots? (I don’t recall visiting any place requiring shots–yet.)
    Is there hot running water? (As this might exclude certain B&B’s in the UK, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker!)
    I tell myself I’m leaving roughest sort of travelling for the time I’ve run out the so-called “civilised” places!
    Many thanks for all your interesting comments and observations!

    Reply
  99. Barbara–
    Many, or rather most of my more recent travel writings have been for a newspaper. For a certain period of time they’re available as web content for a certain, then the window closes. I don’t have any open windows right now! I expect to get at least one new piece from the upcoming journey! Oh, and Ightham Mote is still on my list…I’ve been near it but not actually there. Green Darkness was a favourite of my. Also by Anya Seton, Katherine (of course)–similarly, I’ve been in Lincolnshire but not the part where her manor of Kettlethorpe is located. Now that there’s a new Katherine Swynford biography, my interest in her and that region has sparked again!
    Lauren–
    In the times when I’ve not been able to travel myself, I’ve been so thankful for other writers who can take me away to different places, different times!
    LizA–
    My current project isn’t a romance, though it does contain romantic relationships (and many others: parent-child, uncle-nephew, master-servant, monarch-subject. I agree about that part of Europe being under-utilised.
    The degree to which readers (and writers) are adventurous in terms of setting varies so widely. Publishers, seeking the highest possible profits, tend to be risk-averse. But with new formats for publishing, and new combinations of genres and subgenres coming to the fore, there may be room for more exploration.
    Ingrid–
    In all honesty, I’m not a rough traveller. Never was, much, but maturity brings an even greater desire for mod cons.
    This is why my husband, in addition to tallying his states and countries, is racking up the continents a lot faster than I. When he felt the urge to backpack through a remote part of Western Africa, he dropped me off in the UK to do my solo thing. He comes back with great stories. (My favourite is his “Stone Soup” supper in a village in Ecaudor.)
    My criteria include but may not be limited to:
    Do I need shots? (I don’t recall visiting any place requiring shots–yet.)
    Is there hot running water? (As this might exclude certain B&B’s in the UK, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker!)
    I tell myself I’m leaving roughest sort of travelling for the time I’ve run out the so-called “civilised” places!
    Many thanks for all your interesting comments and observations!

    Reply
  100. Barbara–
    Many, or rather most of my more recent travel writings have been for a newspaper. For a certain period of time they’re available as web content for a certain, then the window closes. I don’t have any open windows right now! I expect to get at least one new piece from the upcoming journey! Oh, and Ightham Mote is still on my list…I’ve been near it but not actually there. Green Darkness was a favourite of my. Also by Anya Seton, Katherine (of course)–similarly, I’ve been in Lincolnshire but not the part where her manor of Kettlethorpe is located. Now that there’s a new Katherine Swynford biography, my interest in her and that region has sparked again!
    Lauren–
    In the times when I’ve not been able to travel myself, I’ve been so thankful for other writers who can take me away to different places, different times!
    LizA–
    My current project isn’t a romance, though it does contain romantic relationships (and many others: parent-child, uncle-nephew, master-servant, monarch-subject. I agree about that part of Europe being under-utilised.
    The degree to which readers (and writers) are adventurous in terms of setting varies so widely. Publishers, seeking the highest possible profits, tend to be risk-averse. But with new formats for publishing, and new combinations of genres and subgenres coming to the fore, there may be room for more exploration.
    Ingrid–
    In all honesty, I’m not a rough traveller. Never was, much, but maturity brings an even greater desire for mod cons.
    This is why my husband, in addition to tallying his states and countries, is racking up the continents a lot faster than I. When he felt the urge to backpack through a remote part of Western Africa, he dropped me off in the UK to do my solo thing. He comes back with great stories. (My favourite is his “Stone Soup” supper in a village in Ecaudor.)
    My criteria include but may not be limited to:
    Do I need shots? (I don’t recall visiting any place requiring shots–yet.)
    Is there hot running water? (As this might exclude certain B&B’s in the UK, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker!)
    I tell myself I’m leaving roughest sort of travelling for the time I’ve run out the so-called “civilised” places!
    Many thanks for all your interesting comments and observations!

    Reply
  101. Margaret—
    How about adding a section to your website with some of your favorite travel pieces? Laura Resnick has a section like this since, as with you, a lot of the content is no long on the magazine websites, and I’m sure that a lot of people would enjoy reading them. (Me waving hand here. 🙂
    Like you, I prefer to travel in comfort. I was dragged on a lot of camping trips as a child, and while I enjoyed the sights, it gave me a life-long loathing for camping. Mosquitoes, inadequate plumbing, uncomfortable beds–UGH!
    Mary Jo, agreeing that publishers are very risk averse about setting. Can understand why, but it’s still unfortunate.

    Reply
  102. Margaret—
    How about adding a section to your website with some of your favorite travel pieces? Laura Resnick has a section like this since, as with you, a lot of the content is no long on the magazine websites, and I’m sure that a lot of people would enjoy reading them. (Me waving hand here. 🙂
    Like you, I prefer to travel in comfort. I was dragged on a lot of camping trips as a child, and while I enjoyed the sights, it gave me a life-long loathing for camping. Mosquitoes, inadequate plumbing, uncomfortable beds–UGH!
    Mary Jo, agreeing that publishers are very risk averse about setting. Can understand why, but it’s still unfortunate.

    Reply
  103. Margaret—
    How about adding a section to your website with some of your favorite travel pieces? Laura Resnick has a section like this since, as with you, a lot of the content is no long on the magazine websites, and I’m sure that a lot of people would enjoy reading them. (Me waving hand here. 🙂
    Like you, I prefer to travel in comfort. I was dragged on a lot of camping trips as a child, and while I enjoyed the sights, it gave me a life-long loathing for camping. Mosquitoes, inadequate plumbing, uncomfortable beds–UGH!
    Mary Jo, agreeing that publishers are very risk averse about setting. Can understand why, but it’s still unfortunate.

    Reply
  104. Margaret—
    How about adding a section to your website with some of your favorite travel pieces? Laura Resnick has a section like this since, as with you, a lot of the content is no long on the magazine websites, and I’m sure that a lot of people would enjoy reading them. (Me waving hand here. 🙂
    Like you, I prefer to travel in comfort. I was dragged on a lot of camping trips as a child, and while I enjoyed the sights, it gave me a life-long loathing for camping. Mosquitoes, inadequate plumbing, uncomfortable beds–UGH!
    Mary Jo, agreeing that publishers are very risk averse about setting. Can understand why, but it’s still unfortunate.

    Reply
  105. Margaret—
    How about adding a section to your website with some of your favorite travel pieces? Laura Resnick has a section like this since, as with you, a lot of the content is no long on the magazine websites, and I’m sure that a lot of people would enjoy reading them. (Me waving hand here. 🙂
    Like you, I prefer to travel in comfort. I was dragged on a lot of camping trips as a child, and while I enjoyed the sights, it gave me a life-long loathing for camping. Mosquitoes, inadequate plumbing, uncomfortable beds–UGH!
    Mary Jo, agreeing that publishers are very risk averse about setting. Can understand why, but it’s still unfortunate.

    Reply
  106. Jo here. Margaret, I’m sorry to be late to the party here. I had a desperate deadline and my editor’s comments (mostly praise, thank heavens) zapped right back, and I have to have the amendments back in a day or so…. You know how it goes.
    Lovely post, and like everyone I envy you your frequent and varied travels. I, too, love to travel with a purpose, even if it’s a flimsy one. We usually end up traveling around England on routes connecting friends and whatever research I have in mind. We’ve recently added fairly light-hearted genealogy.
    On books that use location well, Dorothy Dunnett traveled to most (all) of the locations in her books. IMO, she went a bit overboard in the Niccolo books, perhaps even steering the stories by her itinerary, but she does get in a lot of detail and also manages to weave it into the plot. Even her occasionaly lyrical descriptions don’t jar me.
    I don’t much care for novels that are really travelogues.
    Thanks for creating such a great post,
    Jo

    Reply
  107. Jo here. Margaret, I’m sorry to be late to the party here. I had a desperate deadline and my editor’s comments (mostly praise, thank heavens) zapped right back, and I have to have the amendments back in a day or so…. You know how it goes.
    Lovely post, and like everyone I envy you your frequent and varied travels. I, too, love to travel with a purpose, even if it’s a flimsy one. We usually end up traveling around England on routes connecting friends and whatever research I have in mind. We’ve recently added fairly light-hearted genealogy.
    On books that use location well, Dorothy Dunnett traveled to most (all) of the locations in her books. IMO, she went a bit overboard in the Niccolo books, perhaps even steering the stories by her itinerary, but she does get in a lot of detail and also manages to weave it into the plot. Even her occasionaly lyrical descriptions don’t jar me.
    I don’t much care for novels that are really travelogues.
    Thanks for creating such a great post,
    Jo

    Reply
  108. Jo here. Margaret, I’m sorry to be late to the party here. I had a desperate deadline and my editor’s comments (mostly praise, thank heavens) zapped right back, and I have to have the amendments back in a day or so…. You know how it goes.
    Lovely post, and like everyone I envy you your frequent and varied travels. I, too, love to travel with a purpose, even if it’s a flimsy one. We usually end up traveling around England on routes connecting friends and whatever research I have in mind. We’ve recently added fairly light-hearted genealogy.
    On books that use location well, Dorothy Dunnett traveled to most (all) of the locations in her books. IMO, she went a bit overboard in the Niccolo books, perhaps even steering the stories by her itinerary, but she does get in a lot of detail and also manages to weave it into the plot. Even her occasionaly lyrical descriptions don’t jar me.
    I don’t much care for novels that are really travelogues.
    Thanks for creating such a great post,
    Jo

    Reply
  109. Jo here. Margaret, I’m sorry to be late to the party here. I had a desperate deadline and my editor’s comments (mostly praise, thank heavens) zapped right back, and I have to have the amendments back in a day or so…. You know how it goes.
    Lovely post, and like everyone I envy you your frequent and varied travels. I, too, love to travel with a purpose, even if it’s a flimsy one. We usually end up traveling around England on routes connecting friends and whatever research I have in mind. We’ve recently added fairly light-hearted genealogy.
    On books that use location well, Dorothy Dunnett traveled to most (all) of the locations in her books. IMO, she went a bit overboard in the Niccolo books, perhaps even steering the stories by her itinerary, but she does get in a lot of detail and also manages to weave it into the plot. Even her occasionaly lyrical descriptions don’t jar me.
    I don’t much care for novels that are really travelogues.
    Thanks for creating such a great post,
    Jo

    Reply
  110. Jo here. Margaret, I’m sorry to be late to the party here. I had a desperate deadline and my editor’s comments (mostly praise, thank heavens) zapped right back, and I have to have the amendments back in a day or so…. You know how it goes.
    Lovely post, and like everyone I envy you your frequent and varied travels. I, too, love to travel with a purpose, even if it’s a flimsy one. We usually end up traveling around England on routes connecting friends and whatever research I have in mind. We’ve recently added fairly light-hearted genealogy.
    On books that use location well, Dorothy Dunnett traveled to most (all) of the locations in her books. IMO, she went a bit overboard in the Niccolo books, perhaps even steering the stories by her itinerary, but she does get in a lot of detail and also manages to weave it into the plot. Even her occasionaly lyrical descriptions don’t jar me.
    I don’t much care for novels that are really travelogues.
    Thanks for creating such a great post,
    Jo

    Reply
  111. I was lucky enough to have parents who travelled with a college singing group and took me along, so I visited the Louvre, Wittenberg Castle, Cardiff Castle, etc. before I really knew what they were or why they were important.
    I love books that can conjure up not just the physical aspects of a place, but the feel of it, the spirit of it, as well. As others pointed out above, that means including the sounds and smells and sometimes taste as well as the sights. I think of Sharon Kay Penman among others, and, of course, the Bronte sisters as mistresses of that kind of atmospheric writing. Peace Like a River is a modern book that wonderfully evokes the upper Midwest in winter.
    Thanks for a good post. Happy travelling!

    Reply
  112. I was lucky enough to have parents who travelled with a college singing group and took me along, so I visited the Louvre, Wittenberg Castle, Cardiff Castle, etc. before I really knew what they were or why they were important.
    I love books that can conjure up not just the physical aspects of a place, but the feel of it, the spirit of it, as well. As others pointed out above, that means including the sounds and smells and sometimes taste as well as the sights. I think of Sharon Kay Penman among others, and, of course, the Bronte sisters as mistresses of that kind of atmospheric writing. Peace Like a River is a modern book that wonderfully evokes the upper Midwest in winter.
    Thanks for a good post. Happy travelling!

    Reply
  113. I was lucky enough to have parents who travelled with a college singing group and took me along, so I visited the Louvre, Wittenberg Castle, Cardiff Castle, etc. before I really knew what they were or why they were important.
    I love books that can conjure up not just the physical aspects of a place, but the feel of it, the spirit of it, as well. As others pointed out above, that means including the sounds and smells and sometimes taste as well as the sights. I think of Sharon Kay Penman among others, and, of course, the Bronte sisters as mistresses of that kind of atmospheric writing. Peace Like a River is a modern book that wonderfully evokes the upper Midwest in winter.
    Thanks for a good post. Happy travelling!

    Reply
  114. I was lucky enough to have parents who travelled with a college singing group and took me along, so I visited the Louvre, Wittenberg Castle, Cardiff Castle, etc. before I really knew what they were or why they were important.
    I love books that can conjure up not just the physical aspects of a place, but the feel of it, the spirit of it, as well. As others pointed out above, that means including the sounds and smells and sometimes taste as well as the sights. I think of Sharon Kay Penman among others, and, of course, the Bronte sisters as mistresses of that kind of atmospheric writing. Peace Like a River is a modern book that wonderfully evokes the upper Midwest in winter.
    Thanks for a good post. Happy travelling!

    Reply
  115. I was lucky enough to have parents who travelled with a college singing group and took me along, so I visited the Louvre, Wittenberg Castle, Cardiff Castle, etc. before I really knew what they were or why they were important.
    I love books that can conjure up not just the physical aspects of a place, but the feel of it, the spirit of it, as well. As others pointed out above, that means including the sounds and smells and sometimes taste as well as the sights. I think of Sharon Kay Penman among others, and, of course, the Bronte sisters as mistresses of that kind of atmospheric writing. Peace Like a River is a modern book that wonderfully evokes the upper Midwest in winter.
    Thanks for a good post. Happy travelling!

    Reply
  116. Had another thought about travelling – place names. Names like Bagnigge Welles are fascinating before you even know anything about the place. Sometimes the name is more exciting than the place! On a trip to London a couple of years ago, I giggled every time I heard the voice on the Tube say “Tooting Bec.” I’m sure it’s a perfectly ordinary place, but that name!

    Reply
  117. Had another thought about travelling – place names. Names like Bagnigge Welles are fascinating before you even know anything about the place. Sometimes the name is more exciting than the place! On a trip to London a couple of years ago, I giggled every time I heard the voice on the Tube say “Tooting Bec.” I’m sure it’s a perfectly ordinary place, but that name!

    Reply
  118. Had another thought about travelling – place names. Names like Bagnigge Welles are fascinating before you even know anything about the place. Sometimes the name is more exciting than the place! On a trip to London a couple of years ago, I giggled every time I heard the voice on the Tube say “Tooting Bec.” I’m sure it’s a perfectly ordinary place, but that name!

    Reply
  119. Had another thought about travelling – place names. Names like Bagnigge Welles are fascinating before you even know anything about the place. Sometimes the name is more exciting than the place! On a trip to London a couple of years ago, I giggled every time I heard the voice on the Tube say “Tooting Bec.” I’m sure it’s a perfectly ordinary place, but that name!

    Reply
  120. Had another thought about travelling – place names. Names like Bagnigge Welles are fascinating before you even know anything about the place. Sometimes the name is more exciting than the place! On a trip to London a couple of years ago, I giggled every time I heard the voice on the Tube say “Tooting Bec.” I’m sure it’s a perfectly ordinary place, but that name!

    Reply

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