Guest post: The Perfect Setting by Allie Spencer

24 Jun

Today I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Allie Spencer’s fabulous summer romantic comedy, Save the Date! Allie is the author of four novels: Tug of Love, which won the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme prize for the best debut of 2009 and was shortlisted for the 2010 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance, The Not-So-Secret Diary of a City Girl, Summer Loving and Summer Nights. You can find out more about Allie and her writing at: http://www.alliespencer.com/ Welcome Allie!

‘Save the Date!, like my last two novels, is set abroad. This time, the scene is Italy – the rugged Tuscan coast to be specific – and a hotel looking down upon a little red-roofed town nestling between the shore and the inland hills. Setting is very important for me as a writer, not least because I am one of those people who ‘pick up’ vibes and find that the atmosphere of a place can really affect my mood.

One occasion when this happened was the first time I visited the Brontës’ parsonage in Haworth. I was with my then-boyfriend – a super-rational scientific type (I know, I know, I do pick them!) – and I was doing my best to impress him by being super-rational too.

But the house got the better of me.

It was a cold, clear January day and, after a nice little pootle round the town, we walked up the hill to the parsonage, taking the route that led through the graveyard. Now, of course I knew that all the sisters had died young, mostly from consumption, but I hadn’t bargained for the graveyard to be so packed. And I mean packed: you’d have been hard-pushed to get another tombstone in there. In addition to this, the rooks were cawing and wheeling in the trees above us, so I suppose I may have been primed for a spooky experience, but once were inside it all seemed friendly enough – until I went into Bramwell’s room. For those of you who don’t know, this is located right in the centre of the house and has no exterior wall – and therefore no window. More than that, though, it had the most suffocating, claustrophobic atmosphere I have ever experienced. I walked in and walked straight back out again, making some excuse to the super-rational boyfriend and arranging to meet him outside when he’d finished.

Not all my experiences are negative, though. My sons’ school is over a hundred years old and has a lovely sports’ field bounded by mature horse chestnut trees. Whenever I’m there I get a sneaking sense of small boys playing cricket on a golden summer afternoon way, way back. It’s so strong that I half feel if I turn around quickly enough I might catch them at it. Middle Temple in London, where I did my legal training is the same: if I close my eyes I can almost hear the hurrying footsteps of nearly a thousand years of comings and goings.

So I hope I’ve written Italy right. The hotel Santa Lucia where the action takes place is ancient and beautiful and I’m sure that Ailsa, my heroine, is quite correct when she thinks there is something there, watching over the place and making sure that everyone finds their own happy ending.

Thanks Allie – you definitely got it right :-)

Save the Date! is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

Please stop by again later today to read my review and if you’d like to win a copy of this lovely book please check out this giveaway!

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  1. Book review: Save the Date! by Allie Spencer | - 24th June 2013

    [...] out Allie’s guest post as part of her Save the Date Blog [...]

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