Margaret looks at how holidays have influenced her books.
A relative once said to me, “I
always know where you’ve been on holiday because of where you set your books.”
And it’s true. In the early days of my writing career I always wrote about
places I’d visited or by borrowing books from the library. Mostly, though, I
combined it with holidays.
I waited for ages once to
question two scuba divers who I’d spotted in the sea off the coast in Cornwall.
Fortunately it was worthwhile because they willingly answered all of my
On another holiday I visited a
private airport because I wanted to know what it felt like to fly in a
helicopter. I had a fantastic time talking to two guys and if it hadn’t been
for petrol rationing at the time they would have given me a ride. I’m not sure
I would have accepted. I’m definitely a feet on the ground sort of person.
Although I have to admit I’ve been in a helicopter since (persuaded by my
husband and children) and to forget my fear I concentrated on taking
The very first time I went on a
cruise ship was not for a cruise (I couldn’t afford it in those days) but
because my hero was a doctor on a cruise ship. I sent a letter to the cruise
line asking if I could look over one of their ships. They happily agreed and I
was given a guided tour of the whole ship, including the hospital where no one
is usually allowed unless they are ill. And as we were down in the south of
England my husband and I turned the whole trip into a holiday, spending several
more days along the coast.
The Lake District has featured
more than once in my books. It’s one of the most beautiful areas in the UK and
I’ve spent many holidays there – for both research and pleasure. My recent
e-book, Rachel’s Redemption, was set there following a holiday. I was able to
visualise the exact spot where my hero kissed the heroine for the very first
Although the internet has changed
the way I do research I cannot help wondering whether it’s a good thing or a
bad thing. It’s good for finding quick answers. But is it good for our health?
Wouldn’t we be far better off in the great outdoors?