Friday, February 18, 2011

Settings and Senses - by guest blogger Nina Harrington

One of the delights of travel is to see and experience new places through your own senses. Holiday brochures or a Guide Book may be brilliant at showing your where to go and how to get there, but there is no substitute for physically standing somewhere on the planet and allowing your senses to take in the full impact of that location in person.
To me it does not matter is I am watching a thunderstorm roll in over the Mediterranean sea at night, or walking along the crowded street in Delhi or Kathmandu. What truly matters is my reaction to it and what it feels like to be there.
Of course the way I experience a setting may be completely different from the person standing next to me, and frequently is, especially when that person is not used to the riot of colour, deafening noise and violent assaults on the nostrils that is a city like Kathmandu – but that is what makes a person’s writing and imagination so unique.
The real challenge comes in trying to reproduce the sensory aspects of that location on paper. A good example is the region of France called the Camargue. This is the delta region of the river Rhone as it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Inland it is lovely Provence and theLanguedoc but on the shore, it is a land of marshland and islands and inland freshwater lakes where the local fisherman farm oysters and mussels.
I came across this part of France when I took a canal boat holiday in the area. Travelling at a maximum speed of 4km an hour and mooring where you wish, it is an ideal way to experience the silence and natural beauty of the contrasting landscapes. Sunflowers and vineyards and pines landwards, and waving grasses, egrets and wild flamingos flying over your headas youreach the coast. Perfumes and scents, the music of the tall reeds and marsh grass and the call of the flamingos. The quality of light has attracted artists for centuries, and the towns are sun baked and quiet and very little English is spoken. Buying wonderful local produce involved much pointing and laughter.
It was one of the most relaxing holidays I have ever had.
Perhaps that is why I chose the Languedoc for the setting of my latest Mills and Boon Romance called ‘The Last Summer of Being Single’ which is released in the UK this month in the RIVA line and March in North America and Australia. I particularly like the sunflowers on the cover!I do hope that you enjoy it and find a true sensory flavour of this lovely part of the world.

Many thanks to the lovely Nina Harrington for visiting the Minx blog today. To buy "The Last Summer of Being Single" on Amazon click here or visit the Mills and Boon site.


Sally Clements said...

Lovely post, Nina. I agree, there is nothing nicer than being in a new place, and the details that we experience through our senses can only be picked up by actually being there. I think that's one of the nicest things about being a writer, really paying attention to the little details, and appreciating every new place to the full! (that and lovely wine - in France anyway!)

Maya Blake said...

I agree with Sally! What a lovely, evocative post, and very welcome in this dreary weather we're experiencing in good ole Blighty at the moment! Thanks for being here today, Nina. Lovely cover!!

Romy Sommer said...

Nina, I'm currently half way through "The Last Summer of Being Single" and I can definitely attest to the fact that you bring all the senses to life in this one. The sense of smell is especially vivid in this book - as I read, I'm convinced I can smell those wonderful scents and feel the sun on my skin. Though it helps that this week I'm basking in sun in Cape Town!

Nina Harrington said...

Oh you are so right Sally. How could I forget about the wine and food LOL? Writers do seem to have an extra eye for detail don't they? I do love this part of the world which is in such complete contrast to my normal life.

And thank you Maya. Grey and misty followed by drizzle. I could use some hot Languedoc sun myself at the moment. Roll on the summer.LOL.

Oh Romy, now you are making us all envious. But thank you for your kind comments. I am delighed that you are enjoying the book.

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Thank you for a terrific post, Nina.