I'm not one of those writers who loves research. I regard it as a necessary evil, a sometime pleasure, but above all something that should not intrude on the page. And when you write paranormal-historical-speculative-whatever as I do, you have to weave in historical details with the world you've imagined, and get a smooth balance between the two.
A couple of days ago I visited Chawton, in Hampshire, where Jane Austen lived for the last nine years of her life. She and her mother and sisters settled there after her brother Edward became heir to the Knight fortune and provided them a permanent home in a cottage on his estate. Chawton Museum is now visited by people from all over the world. It's carefully restored but I tried to imagine what it would be like for Jane Austen to look out of the window and see ... a vampire?
Yes, a vampire. Because Edward's property, Chawton House, the beautiful Elizabethan-Jacobean house a few minutes away, was leased to vampires whose presence lent a sinister attitude to the peaceful green countryside and I'll be writing about them and Jane Austen in my next book.
I hope you enjoy these pics I took on my visit to England and which suggested to me the possibility of mystery and immortality.
This yew tree is over 900 years and stands outside Steventon church, where Jane Austen's father was minister and which she attended. Her brother James took over the parish when her father retired. Many members of the Austen family are buried there.
Gravestones and a cut back growth of ivy in St. Elphege's Church, Greenwich. The RNA Conference (the UK equivalent of RWA) was held in Greenwich, a world heritage site in London which includes the Royal Maritime Museum and the Royal Naval College where the conference was held. I'm blogging about that today at the Risky Regencies.
Gargoyles at Salisbury Cathedral, one of the most amazingly beautiful places in the world.
The mysterious, ancient cloisters of Salisbury Cathedral (and most mysterious and amazing, not another tourist in sight...)
What places have you visited where the atmosphere has got your imagination working?
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