Monday, 16 February 2015

Finding the right locations

Last week was all about finding the right location. If I've been somewhere, I write with more conviction and somehow that makes the book seem better. So we drove down to Dartmoor to find a village, a church and a house that could work together for A Baby's Bones 2. We didn't expect the coincidences to lead us all over East Dartmoor like a treasure hunt.

Let me explain. I had to come up with a name on the fly so chose Gould (first 'G' name in the phone book). I had to invent an arrangement of big standing stones on Dartmoor (so I called them Gabriell's Gate - no reason) and I had the fragments of a ghost story about a tiny place on Dartmoor called Lustleigh.

We went to Lustleigh first (because it's on the way to Moretonhampstead which has a tea shop which serves gluten-free cakes, to be honest). The village, which is very picturesque, has an old church - exactly what I was looking for. Thirteen hundreds. added to and extended, tiny. 


Inside, there was a war memorial panel. On it was the name Gould, prominently displayed. The church had some lovely details, including some early memorial carvings moved and set into the walls, and sixteen hundreds memorial stones set into the floor. 


I then went off to look for churches near the fictitious 'Gabriell's Gate'. We had narrowed it down to the Postbridge area - where the local church is called: 


Walking back to the car I was a bit frustrated that no Tudor buildings were nearby, although a glimpse of a house through the trees did catch my eye: Hartyland.


Underneath the 1930's exterior is a thirteenth century farm house, and as luck would have it, it was recently put up for sale, some of the interior photographs were available on Rightmove. Perfect size, perfect location, stone construction, and once you look at the house up close its tall, granite chimneys give its earlier origins away. It's the house. 


Now I can roam about the house - past and present - to my heart's content. It makes you want to rush home and write, which I sort of did. I even missed my gluten-free cakes.  

6 comments:

  1. That's awesome that you went on an adventure for your book. I spent some time with my youngest child inside a coal mine - 750 feet underground - for my novel. It was awesome.

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    1. That sounds like a brilliant expedition! I once sat in a cupboard for several minutes, just to get a feel for what confinement really feels like (I found the darkness just automatically made me nervous, was it like that underground?). I also found all my senses were heightened. This time I just felt like the landscape kind of knew me... a feeling my character will probably get. Just knowing you went to a coal mine intrigues me about your story.

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  2. Love it, Reb - the universe is saying all is well.

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  3. All signs are looking good! I hope you are feeling better as saw from your last blog post that you've not been well.

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    1. Hi Downith, I'm getting better and looking forward to finishing this book, it feels like it's going so slowly. Hope everything's fine with you? Sorry I haven't been in touch, but I'm starting to connect with people again. Hope the writing is coming OK for you.

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