Welcome to my stop on T.A.Williams’ tour for ‘What Happens at the Beach..’! T.A.Williams is popping his TWG cherry! How exciting. This is my first post out of THREE for this tour. That’s right, he has to put up with me for three blog posts! I wonder if I’ll get air miles for all of this touring…..
Whilst I sit and ponder air miles, I will hand you over to the man himself to explain ‘Why there?’ Why where….
Why the South of France?
So far in my What Happens… series, I’ve set books in Tuscany, Cornwall, the Alps and in a little village on the edge of Dartmoor. This time I’m heading for the sun. My new book, What Happens at the Beach… takes place on a beautiful little beach that I’ve called Port Renard in the south of France. Why there, you may ask?
First and foremost, for the sun. I started writing this book in the depths of a cold, wet English winter and I really got a buzz out of imagining myself down there amid the pine trees with the scent of resin in the air, the hiss of the waves and the incessant hum of the cicadas ever-present in the background. When I wrote about swimming in the clear blue sea, floating above the white sandy seabed, it was a welcome relief from the constant beat of rain on my study window. You see, I write for myself as well as my readers, you know.
I studied French at university many, many years ago and I love the language. Although I spent more time in Italy, I lived in France on and off for a couple of years and we always took our holidays down there. Just where exactly are we talking about? France is separated from Spain by the mountain range of the Pyrenees. Port Renard is at the far eastern edge of the mountains, on the Mediterranean coast, just about ten miles from the Spanish border. This part of France, Roussillon, is a major holiday destination to people from all over Europe, and many people from Britain and elsewhere have chosen to buy houses there and relocate in search of sunshine and a slower way of life.
It’s also a very historic region. Back in the Middle Ages, it was the scene of a horrific attack by forces of the Vatican (in the days when the Catholic Church was every bit as much of a temporal power as the secular states around it). The crusaders marched into the southwest of France to eradicate heresy. To modern eyes, the Cathar heretics, who even called themselves Good Christians, differed little from mainstream Catholicism, but they got wiped out all the same. As a result, the area is rich in amazing hilltop castles, spectacular churches and abbeys. All in all, a fascinating place.
Natalie, my heroine, is half English, half French. She’s all alone in the world after the death of her parents and the collapse of her relationship with David, and she travels over to Port Renard to seek refuge at the home of her beloved grandma. When she gets there she immediately falls in love with Barney. Barney is totally gorgeous (if you like dogs) and it’s love at first sight. And his hunky master isn’t too bad either. Like all my books, this one is designed to put a smile on your face and to give you a nice warm, fuzzy feeling. There’s enough horror going on in the world these days. In my own small way, I hope that a visit to the sunny south of France with me will cheer you and remind you that life’s not all bad all the time.