As a historical writer I often spend hours pouring over the English National Trust site, or hired books from local libraries on historical architecture when I’m researching a novel. One of the best things I like about writing historical fiction is that I can pick and choose the great stately homes of England and make them my own. Because lets face it, I’ll never own one myself.
In the first manuscript I ever wrote my hero’s home was made up of two real homes situated in the UK. Knowle House in Kent and Wilton House in Wiltshire. I only used the exterior of Knowle house as its grey coloured stone was local to the county my novel was set. So I knew the building materials I described were correct. I also loved the sweeping lawns of Knowle and the deer that still run wild in the park. Just beautiful.
I used Wilton House for all interior ideas. Some of the fireplaces themselves are just magnificent and obviously I’m not the only one who thinks so, for numerous movies have been made there. Including a current favourite of mine, The Young Victoria.
Now for my medieval manuscript I used Cumbria for my location and had to entirely make a castle – or two in fact – up, for my hero and heroine. Although after describing my castle almost perched on top of a cliff, with the sea its only friend, I did google to try and find if something similar did exist. I was lucky enough to find Tintagel Castle which is actually mentioned in my book. Again, just an amazing feat of brilliant architecture.
|Petworth – West Sussex|
Last but certainly not least, my current Regency series. If you could hear me now you would’ve heard my sigh of delight, as these books are my favourites so far. I’ve allowed myself to be extreme with details as the family are obscenely wealthy – children of a Duke in fact. I’ve set these books mainly in Surrey and West Sussex, two beautiful areas of England everyone – should they have the chance – visit. Now for the heroines home I’ve made up the estate myself, and I think, by previous research, have done a good job of it. I’ve also used a local town, Petworth in the story and an old coaching inn, The Angel Inn, that did in fact stand in 1806 when the book is based, and still stands today.
So what do you do to inspire your hero / heroines homes in your novels. Same as me, flip through pages and pages of grand estate photos and dream. Google or visit the English National Trust website. Or do you make up your homes with what you would’ve liked to live in given the period. Whatever you do, I’m sure you have just as much fun as me. Don’t you just love history.
Off to dream…
Interesting post. I love to see what other people use for their sources of inspiration. For me, it's mostly ancient ruins (so artist's or my imagination), driving around my city (for contemporary) & well, imagining what would survive in my various habitats (inside volcanoes, deep under the sea)….
Thank you for dropping by, Nicky.
I can see Rome in all its grandeur now. As for the inside of volcanoes and under the sea I'd be at a loss to imagine. So glad its not me writing those stories. 😉
See you in Sydney!!!!
Interesting Tam. Since I write contemporary i like to look up realestate.com.au for nice places so i have a stable image in my head.
Hi Bec thanks for dropping in.
I didn't think of real estate agents. Could work for manor houses for me. I'll have to have a look.