Hi everyone

What do you remember about a book? Maybe not the title or even the characters but I bet you remember where it’s set. Me too. Setting is really important (as I wrote in this Guest Blog piece for Reedsy, the writer’s marketplace. Here it is in case you’re interested.)

So when it came to writing the third book of my Amazon Publishing trio I thought about setting before I even had the idea for the plot straight in my head. I love the seaside so I wanted the coast to feature in my story. I needed to find somewhere that was a little down at heel but was on the doorstep of somewhere a lot smarter and within shouting distance of a city.

I came up with Whitley Bay which, if you don’t know it, is a town on the North Eastern coast of England on the edge of the Northumbria national park and not far from Newcastle. Whitley Bay was originally a fishing village which gained a certain reputation in the 1980s and 90s when it became a Mecca for stag and hen parties.

St Mary’s Lighthouse, Whitley Bay

These days it is searching for a slightly more upmarket vibe but the shadows of its ‘kiss me quick’ past are never far away.

The trouble with setting a book there though was that I had never been. A trip was most definitely in order. So I booked myself into a B and B for two nights and set off to explore.

Whilst I am happy in my own company, I have never done two nights away entirely alone before and when I first arrived I feared that I had made a terrible mistake. However, a couple of hours in to my exploration I found a coffee shop that looked like the kind of place I usually hang out in and after that things improved immeasurably.

I had a list of locations that I needed to find as well as being on the look out for places that I could set scenes in. I won’t share all those with you now – the book isn’t out until next year – but suffice it to say that Whitley Bay didn’t let me down.

The Rex Hotel needing some TLC

Having visited the place, the writing of the book has gone very smoothly. It is so much easier to describe somewhere that you can visualise and, whilst I have done plenty of location research via Google before, it was nice to have my own photos to rely on for a change.

The first draft of the book is now complete and I am leaving it to ripen whilst I work on various things for the first two. I’m also thinking of where to set the next one. I have an idea for something on an island off Shetland and another based in Kefalonia. Another research trip (or two) must be due soon.

In other news my Book Café is going great guns so pop over and have a look if you enjoy lively chat about current reads. Click here for that. I’m also off to London tomorrow to talk about publicity for The Thing about Clare which will be out on 1st December so that’s very exciting. I’ll report back soon.

So until next time, happy reading.