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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Settings by Margot Justes









The old adage write what you know and love is true, at least for me-but you should also learn while you write. It adds an additional dimension to the stories. A sense of wonder and discovery both for the reader and the writer.

I love to travel and have been fortunate to be able to visit the places I write about.

My first love is Paris, I lived there for a year, and have gone back a few times. It stood to reason that my first romantic mystery story should be set there.  I’m familiar with the city, and over the years little has changed in my perspective. The Louvre now has Pei’s Pyramid at the entrance, many more buildings have been added, but the age old charm is still very much there.

The charming cafes, the gardens, the historical buildings are all as they were. It is easy to write as if sitting in a cafe and observing life go by. That is especially true on the grandest  boulevard of them all, the Champs Elyssee. It’s easy to make the city come alive, it was my first love as a semi adult, and continues to this day. A grand love affair with the city of lights.

The second book, set in Bath, England was a bit more difficult, but I have visited twice, the second time, I spent a few days getting to know the city. The historical significance is amazing, after all the city is over two thousand years old, and dates back to the Romans.

Most information is available on line, but you need to be careful to select only the key points that are relevant to the story, otherwise it will turn out to be a travelogue within the story.  You need the ‘scent’ of the city, what does it feel like to walk the streets Jane Austen most probably walked. Stroll over lead pipes that the Romans built,  and imagine who else followed in those same footsteps. Who else prayed in the ancient Abbey, and who ate the Sally Lunn cakes, after all the restaurant dates back to the 1620’s.

The third book in the hotel cities is set in Venice, a city that has captured my heart and hasn’t let go.

It’s magic is potent, the architecture, history and art sublime. Every step taken is an amazing adventure in the past. Follow the path of Casanova, on which bridge did he wait in the cover of darkness for his rendezvous with a lover? Who else walked in those same footsteps? Who crossed the Bridge of Sighs-going from palace to prison?

A tourist trap to be sure, but there are places that few tourists visit, side streets, small canals, churches, all it takes is a sense of adventure and wonder, and a map. I get lost sometimes just crossing a couple of streets, and in Venice there are many curvy and meandering little alleys that will ultimately lead to water, and the getting lost process is rather enjoyable. I speak from experience.

Even though I write contemporary romance stories, I love history and art, and that is what I write, goes back to the beginning, write what you know and love. 

I have posted more extensive articles on the three cities on my website on the travel page.


Cheers,
Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice
Blood Art
A Fire Within
www.mjustes.com

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