Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I’m honoured to host this Guest Post from one of my favourite authors today! Read on to discover more about his favourite places and some of the books he’s set in them!
I’ve been very lucky really. I had a day job (until a few years ago) that sent me all over the world on business and offered me the chance to visit stunningly impressive places like the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon at Teotihuacan in Mexico, the Kremlin, the Vatican, the Florida Keys and so many others. I’ve walked around incomparable cities like Hong Kong, Venice, Tokyo and Athens. I’ve swum in the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and in a really, really cold lake in the mountains above Zurich. I’ve skied in Austria, cycled over the Pyrenees, windsurfed in Antigua, snorkelled in Thailand and frozen half to death in northern China in December.
So which are my favourite places?
In fact, the answer has to be a whole lot closer to home. Anybody familiar with my books will find I enjoy writing about places I like.
Chasing Shadows, published earlier this year, is set in rural Spain, an area I love for its empty grandeur, its stunning scenery and its wonderful food and drink. It’s quite an experience to sit on the terrace of a hotel converted from a fourteenth century castle, sipping a glass of Rioja and nibbling a plate of Jamón Ibérico as you look out over the endless plains of Castille.
The book before that, What Happens at the Beach, is set down in the Languedoc area of southern France, not far from the border with Spain. It’s a land of ruined castles, undeveloped medieval villages and long, sweeping sandy beaches. It’s cold in winter, but dry and clear – although the wind can knock you off your feet – and in the summer you batten down the hatches and seal yourself off behind hefty shutters as the outside temperature soars, and only the lizards stay out for long. And, of course, what better way of cooling down than a glass of the local rosé, chilled from the fridge, condensation running down the outside of the glass.
Closer still to home are books like When Alice Met Danny, What Happens in Cornwall and What Happens at Christmas. These are all set down here where I live in the far south west of England. Here we’ve got a chaotic mix of steep hills covered by a patchwork of fields, forever changing colour along with the seasons. The coast is rugged, the weather mercurial, but it’s lovely, specially if you decide to have a pint in a five hundred year old pub against whose beams Sir Francis Drake himself probably bashed his head.
But the star of my firmament of favourite countries has to be Italy. I lived there for eight years and got to know the people as well as the country. In my previous book, To Rome With Love, I take you on a trip from the unique beauty of Venice, through the spectacular hills of Le Marche and Umbria, to the soft sandy beaches of the Mediterranean above Rome, where the scent of resin fills the air, fireflies illuminate the night sky and anybody with any sense sits down to a plate of fritto misto accompanied by a cold, dry white.
And now, unsurprisingly, I’m writing about Italy again. Dreaming of Venice is all about that most wonderful of cities. It’s a place of wonder, totally unique in the world and, remember, it’s got an expiry date. Every wave, every tide, every passing boat removes a few more precious bits of the city’s foundations beneath the waters of the lagoon. As sea levels continue to rise, Venice is in ever graver danger, and it won’t last forever. Somehow, that only adds to the sad, atmospheric atmosphere of the place. I advise you to take a trip to Venice just as soon as you can and, if you can’t, then hopefully Dreaming of Venice will give you a tantalising taste of the place. There’s nothing quite like sitting on the terrace of a fabulous 5 star hotel, overlooking the Grand Canal, with a glass of Prosecco in your hand, watching the sun go down over this enchanting city of incomparable history and beauty.
If my writing manages to convince you to visit some of these magnificent places, I’ll know I’ve done my job.
Many thanks to Trevor for this – all his talk of beautiful places and delicious food and drink are reflected in his delectable novels, I highly recommend all of them (most of the titles named in the article are hyperlinked to my review of the novels). Other novels by him that I have read and reviewed include: