Today I welcome Lynne Shelby, fabulous writer of contemporary romance to The Writer’s Hub. I read her latest book, The Summer of Taking Chances and absolutely loved it. It is so clever and well-written I am determined to read her previous novels. This afternoon, she is sharing her research on location for this delightful novel with us.
A Village by the Sea – Lynne Shelby
I write contemporary romance, and the research I do before I start writing tends to focus on the location of my story, either a place I’ve enjoyed exploring or somewhere I know well. These days, it’s possible to research a location on-line, but I still like to visit the place I’m writing about, to absorb the atmosphere, the scents and the sounds, that you can’t get from the internet.
When I came to write my latest novel, The Summer of Taking Chances, I wanted its location to reflect the book’s ‘summery’ feel, and although South Quay – where Emma, my heroine, and Jake, my hero, grew up, and where Emma still lives – is a fictional seaside village, it is very much based on a real place.
As a child, I lived in London, but I spent summer holidays in a village on the Sussex coast where my family had a holiday home. I have wonderfully vivid memories – and albums full of photographs – of long hot days on the beach, collecting shells and sea glass, skimming stones, and, of course, building sandcastles, complete with a paper windmill on top and a moat that filled with water as the tide came in – all things that my characters do in the book. I remember flying a kite on that beach – and chasing after it when a particularly strong gust of wind swept it away – digging for crabs by the sea-weed covered break waters and walking for what seemed miles along the sand at low tide to view the barnacle-encrusted ribs of a ship that was rumoured to be the wreck of a vessel from the Spanish Armada. I never did discover if the rumour was true, but it makes its way into the book.
When our now adult children were young, my husband and I took them to the same seaside village, and even after the house where we spent those traditional beach holidays was sold, we continued to visit the area from time to time. It’s the sort of place where everyone knows everyone else, and years after we’d stopped going there for the entire summer, people still remembered us when we visited for a weekend. In The Summer of Taking Chances, Jake, who now lives in London, returns to South Quay for the summer, and Emma is very aware that their relationship is being discussed by the entire village, but she still appreciates living in a supportive, close-knit community.
Before I started writing the book, we visited the area again, and this gave me the opportunity to make notes for scenes in the story in places similar to where they happen. I also took lots of new photos which I pinned to a cork board in my writing room to inspire me as I wrote.
The village hasn’t changed much over the years, and despite the lure of Mediterranean sun or an exotic foreign city, families still go there in the summer to enjoy a traditional holiday by the sea.
The Summer of Taking Chances
Would you take the second chance you’ve always dreamed of?
When Emma Stevens was seventeen, she and Jake Murray were both living in the small seaside village of South Quay, dreaming of glittering careers on the stage. Jake left the village to go to drama school, and the following year, Emma planned to do the same…
Ten years later, Jake is living in London, a successful and well-known actor, while Emma is still living a quiet, uneventful life in South Quay, and working in a local hotel. Her ambitions to become a professional actress abandoned, she is an enthusiastic member of the village amateur dramatics society, and barely remembers the dreams she and Jake once shared.
Then Jake returns to South Quay for the summer…
To Buy Link:
Lynne Shelby, Writer
Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing, was published after it won a national writing competition. She has done a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actor’s chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Reykjavik – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.
Thank you , Lynne, for visiting The Writer’s Hub. I loved this book and know it’s the perfect August read.