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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

In the Footsteps of Heroes

Anyone who knows me even slightly will know how much I love North Wales.  I was fortunate enough to live there for three years, and I still return for holidays whenever I can.

I also set a lot of my historical fiction among the region’s mountains and valleys, and woods and moors.  When I’m walking among rugged hills and deep lakes with a low, brooding sky I find it impossible not to think of the people living here in days gone by.

So what have these rambling thoughts got to do with writing?

Well, I find it really helpful to be able to know the places where my characters live their lives.  In fact, putting scenes in places I know is one of the joys of writing.  It also helps me picture some of the scenes.  For example, here is the River Glaslyn a little upstream from Beddgelert. 


In ‘The Doe and The Dragon’, it was here that Prince Einion first set eyes on Breena, the Irish girl who took his heart.  I walked alongside this stretch of river only a couple of weeks ago, and Breena and Einion are so much a part of the place for me I could almost see their ghosts – particularly as the area is thick with myth and legend.


I set a lot of the story in the magnificent Gwynant Valley (above); it isn’t difficult to imagine warrior princes leading warbands over this rugged country.


And one of the characters is enticed into an ancient copper mine by a spirit.  I based the scene at this (slightly more modern but still pretty old!) mine.

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