Saint-Florent on the island of Corsica appears in my books under a different name.
A sense of place in fiction is very important to me, both in my own work and in the novels I read. Some of my favourite authors, such as Hannah Kent, Helen Dunmore and Tracy Chevalier, excel at weaving the setting seamlessly into the story. Novels are about people, of course, but they are the product of their environment and culture, so the setting is an indispensable part of the story.
But should you write about real places or make them up? There is no right answer. Both of those alternatives have pros and cons.
It’s always a pleasure to welcome my friend and fellow author Jennifer C. Wilson to the blog. Jen specialises in writing “historical fiction with spirit” that speculates on what’s happened to the ghosts of well-known historical figures since their own era. She’s about to launch an addition to the Kindred Spirits series, in which the ghosts are based in famous historic places. This time it’s York. I’ll let her tell you more about it. Continue reading →
Have you read The Corsican Widow yet? If not, for a limited time, you can enter this autumn giveaway to win the book plus 25+ other Book Club Fiction novels from a great collection of authors, including Patricia Sands, Kate Braithwaite and Laura Bradbury.
In this contest organised by BookSweeps, there’s also a chance to win a brand new eReader – along with a collection of FREE reads just for entering.
My second novel in the Tales of Corsica series, The Corsican Widow, is taking part in an Amazon Kindle Countdown deal today and over the weekend. *Please note that this applies only to the US and UK Kindle stores.* It will remain at the full price in other Kindle stores.
The countdown starts today at 8 am in the UK and at 3 am PST/6 am EST in the States.
The book will be reduced from the full price of £2.99/$3.99 to 99p/99c, rising to £1.99 or equivalent on late Saturday and Sunday and then back to the full price on Monday 19th November.
The Tales of Corsica novels are stories set on the beguiling island of Corsica. They are linked by being set in the same house in the fictional village of Zaronza.
In The Corsican Widow, Valeria Peretti must marry a wealthy man twice her age whom she doesn’t know. She is later accused of a serious crime she didn’t commit. Friendless and isolated, can she escape from her enemies and make a new life?
“But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony–Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?”
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front
“We stood around for a bit, smoking and taking the occasional pull from the bottle. A couple of their men spoke English but no one said much. We were just a group of lads hanging about. We could have been anywhere. That’s what struck me. These Fritzes were ordinary people with parents, sisters, brothers, wives, sweethearts back home. Just like us. Exchange uniforms and you wouldn’t have noticed the difference. And yet up till now we’d been trying to thump each other into the ground. It made me think.”
Open any guidebook about Corsica and you’re likely to come across a picture of this exquisite Romanesque church in Murato. Prosper Mérimée, who was Inspector of Public Monuments, said in 1839 that it was “the most elegant and the most attractive church he had come across on Corsica.” We visited the site in 2014 and I heartily agree with him. Continue reading →