It Takes a Village… Doing On-Site Research for The Winter Sea
by Susanna Kearsley
|Author, Susanna Keasley |
Photo by Ashleigh Bonang
I love the reading; love to hold the old, old books and haunt the British Library’s hushed reading rooms, where I can lose all track of time reading the letters John Moray – my hero in The Winter Sea – wrote home to his mother and father, or those he wrote to Queen Mary of Modena in his neat and careful French.
|Hooke Book and Moray Letter|
I’ve grown a lot more confident since I made my first research trip back in the early 1990s. Back then, I was too shy to tell anybody that I was a writer. Now, I tell everyone – bus drivers, bartenders, anyone – because I’ve learned two things about on-site research: One, that the best details can come from the least likely places, and two, that most people are wonderfully helpful.
|St. Olaf Hotel|
Any time I had questions they answered them for me or found me the answers from people they knew in the village, or simply by asking the women and men in the public bar. One of these women, who came for her lunch almost every day, turned out to be the owner of the local taxi fleet, and she began to drive me round herself, on one occasion with the meter off, to find me the locations that I needed for specific scenes.
|The Beach from Ward Hill|
|Slains Castle, Cruden Bay|
THE WINTER SEA BY SUSANNA KEARSLEY – IN STORES DECEMBER 2010
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