Every story that finally makes it out of a writer's head and onto paper (or screen) has to start from somewhere. That first glimmer intrigues me, and it's something I often ask guest authors about on my blog. What was the initial kernel of an idea that got them started writing their novel? Their answers never fail to fascinate me.
Once, I wrote an entire novel based on a single idea for an opening scene that imprinted itself on my brain … which was where it stayed for years and wouldn't let go, until I stumbled across the perfect location for it and could let the idea take off. Sometimes it's a character that comes to mind first, and his or her personality will dictate the story. And sometimes it's a place that stays with me, until my imagination comes up with the characters and story to go with it. That's what happened when I wrote Warm Hearts in Winter.
I wanted my hero and heroine to be isolated in the midst of winter - long evenings by a log fire with nothing to do except get to know each other. After all, it's a common enough romantic fantasy, to be cozied up with a handsome hunk while the wind howls outside, isn't it? (… or is that just me?!)
I already had a suitable location in mind - the beautifully bleak winter landscape of the Yorkshire moors near Haworth, home of the Bronte sisters. I only had to add a forbidding stone house, a handsome man in need of company and comfort, a woman willing to give both … and enough bad weather to keep them snowed in together.
It's said that you should write about what you know, and Haworth is a location I know well. When I was a child, my family took a day trip there every year just before Christmas, so the village and the moors around it have always been a 'winter' place in my mind's eye. On the drive, I would gaze out at the passing scenery and wonder who on earth would want to live in those old stone houses looking out over the wild landscape.
Fast-forward ahem-number of years, and with that landscape in mind, my imagination dreamed up Jack Blane, a widowed novelist who uses his house as a retreat for solitude, writing, and nursing his broken heart … until temporary personal assistant Abby comes along to break him out of that solitude and maybe help mend that heart. They go on plenty of snowy walks from the house, and when the weather lets up, Jack takes Abby to visit the Bronte parsonage museum and lovely old church, then down the steep cobbled main street with its eclectic mix of little shops ... something I remember from my childhood and still enjoy every so often.
A place can't always dictate the story, and you can't necessarily drum up a plausible plot just because you visit somewhere and think it might make a good setting for a book … but in this case, the wintry moors fit perfectly with my characters and the romance I wanted to write.
About the Author:
Helen Pollard writes contemporary romance with old-fashioned heart. She believes there will always be a place for romantic fiction, no matter how fast-paced and cynical the world becomes. Readers still want that feel-good factor - to escape from their own world for a while and see how a budding romance can blossom and overcome adversity to develop into love ... and we all need a little love, right?
A Yorkshire lass, Helen is married, with two teenagers and a psychotic cat. When Helen’s not working or writing, it goes without saying that she loves to read. She also enjoys a good coffee in a quiet bookshop, and appreciates the company of family and close friends.
Helen's next romance, Holding Back, is due for release on 28th April 2015.
Find out more about Warm Hearts in Winter here.
And be sure to enter below to win 1 of 5 pdf copies of Warm Hearts in Winter by Helen Pollard.
Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law.
Entries close at 11:59pm April 3/15.
Winners will be drawn April 4/15.
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.