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On Location

Setting and story are intertwined. Castles inspire me. So do ancient burial tombs. Gravestones that give clues about the lives someone has led. Paintings and tapestries filled with scenes from long ago. For a historical romance writer, it’s impossible to experience these and not imagine stories from centuries past.

Click on images to enlarge.


Maitland’s Rogues Series

Here are some settings that inspired my Maitland’s Rogues series.

Scotland

In Scotland, it’s said there is no bad weather, only wrong clothes. We were prepared! But Scotland laughed at our hubris. Hard rain spit in our faces, clouds enveloped us in impenetrable mists, lush turf disintegrated into bog. Rocks challenged our footing. (That I needed a hip replacement didn’t help.) None of that dissuaded me; in fact, Scotland inspired me to write Lord Difficult.

Robert Tavish, a reluctant earl whose passion is studying fossils, has been sent on a mission by his uncle at the War Office—pretend to seek a bride by hiring Emmaline, a London matchmaker suspected of murder and treason. When her life suddenly is endangered, he whisks her to Scotland to protect her.

One of their side journeys is to Staffa, an island in the Inner Hebrides with hexagonal rocks and a cave that sings in harmony as waves crash into it.

 

  
They're caught in a storm and take shelter on nearby Iona, a mystical island where ancient kings and clan chiefs are buried. (Their very rough boat ride is not unlike the one I experienced.) When I walked along Iona’s Street of the Dead, I knew my characters would as well. Robert and Emmaline spend the night in an ancient chapel surrounded by bones of those long-dead chiefs and kings.

Cornwall, Port Isaac, and London

Cornwall, one of the most beautiful places on earth, is where Robert mounts his archeological digs. It’s the UK’s most southwesterly region and lies on the edge of the Gulf Stream, which gifts it with a temperate climate. Turquoise seas slam against granite cliffs, and the coastal path begs you to explore.

The TV series “Doc Martin” was taped in nearby Port Isaac, which can be mobbed with tourists. Visit if you must, but then let the path take you elsewhere for solitude and peace.

If this chapel below looks familiar, you might have seen it in the movie “Love Actually” as the scene for the wedding of Keira Knightly’s and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s characters. Regency buffs, though, will recognize it as Grosvenor Chapel in London, where some Lord Difficult characters are wed. The parents of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, are buried in a vault here.

 

Wales

Anglesey, an island off the northwest coast of Wales, inspired Lord Shallow. I shot this photo of the horizon from the island and loved it so much that I used it as the background for the book’s cover. A bit about the story:

To all of London, Sebastian Traherne is a pretentious fop who prizes his tailor over his dukedom. In truth, he’s an obsessively rational fellow protecting a secret marriage. When a prickly Welsh miss arrives at his crumbling castle one gloomy night, she upends his world—and every principle he holds dear. Gwynna Owen might be the last true Princess of Wales, but she needs this very English duke to claim her legacy and vanquish a tyrant.

They journey to her home island of Anglesey, a beautiful island known for its ancient ruins. Sightseeing there, my husband and I hiked through a grove of trees and across a farmer's field to a neolithic tomb. Sentry stones with mysterious spirals and carvings were the only clues left by the ancients. I had Sebastian and Gwynna take shelter there during a rainstorm.

 


Love in Disguise Series

A word about the Regency period, which is what inspired my Love in Disguise series. Jane Austen lived in Bath for several years, and it appears in Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. So I couldn’t resist a trip there, and especially afternoon tea at the Pump Room. Through the window you can peek into the old Roman baths, which are very much worth seeing. The tea itself is a mix of savory and sweet delicacies, and we needed a box to take home the leftovers!

Finally, one of my favorite shots in front of Buckingham Palace, which was not used during the Regency but later, by Queen Victoria in 1837. Notwithstanding, the officer and I had a good laugh on a beautiful day. He was pretending to give me his hat!

 

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