I’m very excited to be joined by The Reading Group author Della Parker today. She is taking us behind the scenes of her series of novellas and talking about the importance of and how she created the settings. Without further ado I will hand you over to Della…
Settings are incredibly important for fiction. They are where our characters live and they are where we are going to take our readers. So for me, it’s important to choose a setting I know well.
The setting for my latest series of novellas, The Reading Group, was a seaside town in Devon called Little Sanderton. The nearest big town to Little Sanderton is Exeter which is 21 miles away and is mentioned frequently throughout the Reading Group.
I should confess here that Little Sanderton doesn’t actually exist but if you were to look up Branscombe, which is in Devon, you’ll have an idea of where I had in mind. When Jojo and Kate go walking to talk about the breakdown of Kate’s marriage in the February, novella they are walking on Branscombe Beach.
Serena’s house where the Reading Group meet each month, is set on a clifftop close by. So is Anne Marie’s father’s house.
The beauty of choosing an imaginary setting is that you can’t mistakenly libel anyone or upset anyone, but you can go and look at actual houses and base your fictitious ones upon them. I tend to use the outsides of real houses and make up what’s on the inside. (So far, no one has actually let me in to have a look around their house, but you never know!)
I also tend to set my stories in places I love. I have some very fond memories of holidaying in Branscombe, which is not a million miles away from where I live. I have walked along several sections of the coast path and spent many a happy day in the local seaside towns and villages, not to mention restaurants. (All in the name of research, obviously!)
Setting a series of novellas in this area was a delight. It meant I could go back there in my mind. Skip back to this idyllic place and take my readers with me. Not a bad way to earn a living, is it!
Thank you Della for this lovely guest post. The first instalments of The Reading Group by Della Parker are out now. Each month concentrates on a different character and has elements of the classic literary fiction they are reading that month as part of their reading group. You can read my reviews of December, January and February and find out more about the characters HERE and my review of April HERE.