Anyone who knows me even slightly will know how much I love North Wales. I was fortunate enough to live there for three years, and I still return for holidays whenever I can.
I also set a lot of my historical fiction among the region’s mountains and valleys, and woods and moors. When I’m walking among rugged hills and deep lakes with a low, brooding sky I find it impossible not to think of the people living here in days gone by.
So what have these rambling thoughts got to do with writing?
Well, I find it really helpful to be able to know the places where my characters live their lives. In fact, putting scenes in places I know is one of the joys of writing. It also helps me picture some of the scenes. For example, here is the River Glaslyn a little upstream from Beddgelert.
In ‘The Doe and The Dragon’, it was here that Prince Einion first set eyes on Breena, the Irish girl who took his heart. I walked alongside this stretch of river only a couple of weeks ago, and Breena and Einion are so much a part of the place for me I could almost see their ghosts – particularly as the area is thick with myth and legend.
I set a lot of the story in the magnificent Gwynant Valley (above); it isn’t difficult to imagine warrior princes leading warbands over this rugged country.
And one of the characters is enticed into an ancient copper mine by a spirit. I based the scene at this (slightly more modern but still pretty old!) mine.