Jane Lovering on Location Location Location

As should be wildly apparent to anyone who knows me, I don’t get out much. Because of this, all my books are based close to home – far enough away that nobody could point to any one place and say that they could tell it was in one of my books, but near enough that I can do research without having to go too far (there are probably injunctions that actually prevent me from going too far, but since I’ve never tried, I don’t know). But location is very important to me, ever since a far more experienced writer than I told me that ‘place should be as much a character as anyone who speaks’. And it’s true, the right location adds so much to a story; just imagine an old, dark house at the edge of a wood versus a brightly-lit shoeshop, full of comings and goings. They are both good settings, but the stories that they would set would be very different, because the atmospheres that they conjure up are very different.

And so, when it came to Hubble Bubble, as ever, I set it close to home. ‘Barndale Woods’ is actually based on woodland in a village called Sinnington, where I often walk my dogs, and Holly and her brother live in Malton. I could even, if given enough prompting and egg-nog, point to the exact house that Holly lives in, show you where Eve’s little cottage is, and give you general directions to find Kai’s Gothic monstrosity deep in the woods. You wouldn’t find it, of course, like all the locations used in my books, I take a real place and give it a twist, so it’s like, and yet unalike. I don’t know how others do it, maybe they’d like to share their own location-tips?

The picture is of the woods near Sinnington. If you look very closely, you might see Kai, lurking behind a tree. But not too closely, you’ll go blind…

Woods near Sinnington

10 thoughts on “Jane Lovering on Location Location Location

  1. The wood looks gorgeous! I normally try to set my books in places that I have lived or visited. I love re-living the scenery of Monument Valley, California…Bristol.lol 🙂

  2. I so agree with what you’ve said about the importance of a sense of place in any novel. For me, it’s coastal locations because I’m fascinated by the ‘inbetween’ spaces on the fringes of sea and land.

  3. Yes, settings are very important. I love Dorset and have set several novels there. I also love the Gower in South Wales and set a family saga there a long time ago.

  4. What an absolutely lovely wood Jane, thank you for sharing it. Like you, I use locations I know but ‘give them a twist’. I sometimes take the beginning of a real name of one location and the ending of another and combine them. I’ve just had to back up and look at that image again, it’s a balm to the spirit.

  5. Thank you for concurring with me, chaps. Place, and the spirit of place is important, especially for books set outside cities. And I’m glad you like the picture, Margaret!

  6. Lovely picture, Jane. Am really enjoying Hubble Bubble, and this image just adds to it.

  7. Gorgeous picture, Jane. I think the natural world inspires us so much 🙂 I tend to write about areas I’m familiar with, too. A few more planned. Congratualtions with how well Hubble Bubble has been received. As soon as my kindle has been replaced (yet again!) I’ll be reading it.

  8. Hi Jane,
    I love reading books by UK writers because it gives me a taste of home (I live in Australia). I think that the setting is really important and adds to the storyline and the characters. Quite recently I read a book where there was a crime scene and the weather outside was glorious Australian sunshine, but instead of the sun making everything happy and positive the writer talked about heatstroke and dehydration of the character in trouble. I felt that it was an original way of adding tension.
    The picture of the wood is beautiful!

  9. What a lovely place! I often use real houses as the setting for my books, but change their name obviously. It does help to have a specific setting in mind I think.

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