The guest on my blog today is my fellow Write Romantic, Jackie Ladbury. Jackie has had two books published: Air Guitar and Caviar and The Magic of Stars. She has recently completed a third novel – rather different in style to the others – called The Potter’s Daughter. Jackie is here to tell us about the settings for her novels, and what inspired her to locate her stories there. Over to you, Jackie.
As soon as I saw the dedication plaques on Southwold pier I had a lightbulb moment, knowing that there was a romantic storyline in there somewhere. I have always loved visiting Southwold and I realised that my stories were better if they were grounded in a sense of place – for myself and the reader. I also wanted to show that Dylan, my loveable busker, was sexy and scrumptious, not just some grungy guy who needed a wash, so I had him come from Southwold which is definitely the land of Boden wellies and Laura Ashley dresses. His parents lived in a big house overlooking the sea and he even managed to buy one of the elusive beach huts (one was put up for sale not so long ago for £120,000!) The dedication plaques did indeed form part of the story – to me it was a real ‘Ahh’ moment.
Here’s the cover for Air Guitar and Caviar- I took the image of Southwold Pier myself and badgered the cover designer to incorporate it in the final cover!
The Magic of Stars was initially set in Florence, but to be honest, I got really sick of trying to translate phrases into Italian, and I knew someone would pick me up on how bad my Cara Mias were, so I airlifted my hero, Marco, out of Florence and plonked him down in London. I then sent him and Sapphire up to Edinburgh for some quality time together. By then I’d decided that the night sky, specifically the stars, were a good theme to play on, and I found that the Scilly Isles had designated Dark Skies (no light pollution to hinder the viewing of night skies) So off they went to the Isles of Scilly where they could properly fall in love – and didn’t they just!
The cover is of The Duomo in Florence because the story starts and ends in Florence- and I thought it looked romantic!
The Potter’s Daughter, out later this year, is a slight change in direction for me, it being a historical romance set in the Potteries in the heart of England. I was born in Stoke on Trent but I was quite young when we moved to a pretty market town called Stone, where my parents still live. My dad grew up in Hanley in the Potteries and tells the story of the soot and smog invading every part of the town, so much that all the schoolboys used to douse their heads under an outside tap to wash their face and hair before going into class.
This picture shows the Joules Brewery that was still open when I grew up in Stone – I can still remember that particular smell of hops that pervaded the town.
This photo is of the only surviving working bottle kiln at the Moorland Pottery works in Burslem, and tells a fascinating story of the Potteries history. It’s well worth a visit if you’re ever passing that way.
Thank you so much for sharing your pictures with us, Jackie! Congratulations on your published books, and good luck with The Potter’s Daughter. You can find out more about Jackie by following her blog. Or on Facebook. You can buy The Magic of Stars here. And Air Guitar and Caviar here.