Monday, 7 April 2014

Location, location, location

I hope you enjoyed reading my previous blog post  as part of the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Be sure to check out the writing process of @Martinlastrapes and @timarnot on their blogs too. Their writing process should be published on their blogs today so check out my last blog post for links to their sites.  

Another article from the Crime Writers Association Newsletter caught my eye and this time it was written by psychological thriller writer, A J Waines ( In this issue she wrote about the importance (or not) of the setting of a book. This Friday at the Daunt’s Book festival in London they had an interesting talk about location and setting in novels. Sadly I will miss it. However Waines article gave me something to ponder. She mentioned how the Nordic and scandanavian crime novels have a great setting geographically. Like I have said before you can’t help a bit of weather to help create atmosphere and the culture of a place can link into the way a crime is solved (Think of the Italian laid back Montablano and the Ladies No.1 Detective Agency compared to CSI and Morse – they all draw on their locations as to how the crimes are solved ) but Waines goes on to say that you can create atmosphere anywhere. The geographical setting doesn’t have to be paramount to the story.

This is true. Although I do like to have a setting. Especially if it is exotic. As a child watching Poirot on his adventures always enticed me. Evil under the Sun with Peter Ustinov is still my favourite Poirot!  – Goa is a big part of my life and a big part of The Chupplejeep Mysteries – after all the series is set in one of the local sleepy villages and to me this setting makes the novel what it is. By using Goa as the setting not only do you get to explore the local cultural nuances and the behaviours of people (which I can assure you is very different to anywhere else I have seen) but you get to go back to a more simpler way of living, you get to explore themes that would be relevant to your reader but in a different cultural context, for example how people perceive adultery, murder and so forth.

If you have only ever written books set in one location perhaps write a short story set in another. This is a fab writing exercise. I had great fun doing this for Indian Diaries and perhaps I will do the same when I am off on my summer holidays somewhere in the Med this year. 

Also on an aside note I went to the Oxford Literary Festival on new Indian Writing. It was a fascinating interview with two Indian authors  Prajwal Parajuly (author of The Gurkha's Daughter and other stories) and Anjali Joseph (author of Another Country). It was fascinating and good to know that Joseph reads self published authors recognising that there is good writing out there that has not been published with mainstream publishers.  It was interesting to hear about the  pros and cons of Indian writing in English. The stereotypes that litter such novels (Typical of Chupplejeep I suppose), but good to know also that the stereotypes sell also. That is what the market wants. I suppose stereotypes do exist - and something like cosy crime which is what Chupplejeep is lends itself to this type of stereotyping. ANyway it certainly gave me something to think about in regards to The Chupplejeep Mysteries! 

Also loving The Book Thief which I am currently reading. If you are looking for a good book to read then give this a go! 

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