Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Meanderings

Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. My weekend started with a blizzard on Friday, and while I'm completely sick of winter here in the Great White North, the  nasty weather afforded me some  much needed downtime. I got caught up on editing, and did some more writing on Pride and Passion as well, I was able to sit and read through a research book I bought back months ago.

For writers in the Victorian era, or just lovers of the era, I cannot recommend Life in the Victorian Country House by Pamela Horn enough. Fantastic resource, with numerous little kernels of information and lots of photographs, many of which are black and white originals of real-live Victorian aristocrats! I was especially enaormed of the section that spoke of the 'belowstairs' parties and dances that the master of the house allowed his servants. I had no idea that this happened, but apparently, it did, and in many households. So, now I am of course thinking of all the possibilities for future books!

As well as editing and writing--and researching, I spent the weekend working on a new idea for a series. Originally, I thought perhaps that it would be about a group of very close knit friends. I tend to write alot about friends, but suddenly, the friends aspect seemed to melt away, replaced by a very tight knit family, led by the man of the house--a duke. I've never written a series centered around a family. I don't know why, perhaps it's because I really don't have that sort of relationship with my own family. Don't get me wrong, we're all friends, and care for each other, but there is not that emotional closeness that many friends have. But this family...well, this one just feels right. The Westlake's seem so real to me, and jotting them down, and etching out their stories has been alot of fun. I've had numerous inspiring things, from pictures, to music to help this process along. But nothing has been more inspiring than my planned research trip to England.

The North of England has long fascinated me, with it's rugged scenery, it's sometimes bleak sky, and it's hearty people. There's a definite romantic feel for that part of the country, and I've always longed to write about that part of the country. I've been through many times on the train from London to Edinburgh, but I've never stayed. So, this time, I'm spending a few days in London, but then the rest of the time, I'll be staying in North Yorkshire, in a little cottage that is a couple of hundred years old! I can't wait. And I know the scenery is going to be so inspiring for my new series idea. I'm thinking of placing it in early fall, in a country house, with lots of angst and emotion, set amongst the romantic and dramatic moors. Think Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, with lots of smexy parts! lol!

One place I'm determined to go to is Harewood House. I know that this place shall be the starting point for me, because it's the inspiration for the Westlake's country house. From the pictures on the website it looks like the perfect place for the duke and his siblings--along with a feisty, match making aunt!
Imagine being mistress of a such a place!
The 'musing' part of planning a book and or a series, is one of my most favorite aspects of writing. I love to just sit and daydream about the characters, their lovers, the locale, and maybe hear a quote or two that I'll jot down in my 'idea' book. This new idea is particularly exciting becomes it's coming together at the same time that we're planning our trip to England.

There will be more about the trip, as well as the new idea as the months move along. But for now, let me share some of the inspiring pictures of North Yorkshire and its moody moors.

And our gorgeous, historic cottage.......

Curious minds...what part of England, or the UK for that matter, are you just dying to get to? For me, after North Yorkshire, it's the Lake District.


Meljprincess said...

I went to London, England in 1984. I'd like to go back to London and visit other parts of England as well. I'm an anglophile so I'm not picky. :-)
My first visit to Scotland was in Sept. 2010. It was quite an adventure. 'See Scotland in 10 days' was our motto. I'd just like the time and money to see more of these two countries.
Thanks for the book recommendation. The Victorian era is my favorite!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm actually in the midst of planning my hubby's and my 10th anniversary vacation which will be to London this summer. The plan is to stay at an inn two block from Hyde Park and we'll be renting a car to drive through England and up to Scotland to see the castles. This is the plan, not that it will go that way, lol. Of course, the kids are crying for Disney and our best friends are begging us to go to Rome with them for the week in May. The stress of it all, lol.

This book sounds fascinating. I'll definitely see if I can find it.

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Meljprincess, time and's always the dilemma when vacationing, isn't it! lol!
My family is from Scotland, so I've been quite a few times. It's lovely and romantic, but for some strange reason, it doesn't have the hold over me that England does! Don't tell my dad! lol! In reality, I'm not very picky about where I visit in England, either. I'm just happy to go! One place I have to get this time around is the Victoria and Albert museum in London. I haven't gotten there yet, but I'm dying to see all the interiors, and furniture and dresses!

Barbara, should be easy to find the book, it just came out in the fall. It's a really good resource! Congrats on the 10yrs! YEAH! I hear ya about being pulled in different directions! But, my vote is for England--yeah, I know, I'm partial! But hey, if you do go, let me know, i have a great walking quide for a two hour leisurely stroll through Mayfair--good resource for all those romance novels we read!

VampFanGirl said...

Oh Charlotte, I'm lovin' your family plot idea. Families are fun and something I enjoy reading because like you, I don't have "romance world" family and reading about a close knit family satisfies a fantasy of mine.

And wow, I'm green over what you'll be doing in England soon. It sounds like a great and ispiring trip. Be sure to bring back lots of pictures.

Stay warm!!

Hugs, VFG

Dalila G. said...

I have always wanted to go to Scotland. Any part of Scotland!That's my fantasy trip.
There's so much to see and do there. Plus all the history of Scotland, what an amazing place.

I've read tons of books about it, visited loads of websites and my friends are always sending me information on the little hide-aways there.

I'm going to try and get my hands on the book you recommeded, sounds like an excellent read, thank you!

The new idea of a close knit family sounds great. I'm sure The Westlake's will be a fabulous series.

Have a blast in England, the cottage looks so cozy, just so you know I'm soooo jealous!! LOL!!

Happy and safe travels!!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Hey VFG, I'm majorly excited to begin this series--if the proposal sticks, of course! I find the family dynamics of the series to be a bit daunting, but I'm envisioning such emotion and angst, and love that I feel like I should at least give it a shot!
I'll be taking lots of pics, and I can't wait to sit in that walled secret garden with my laptop!

Dalila, thanks for coming by! Yes, Scotland is a wonderful country. My family is from the midlands and Highlands, and I enjoyed many trips there. Check out Pitlockry (I'm pretty sure that's the correct spelling) it's a gorgeous little town, and they have FANTASTIC tea rooms there.
The Westlake's aren't a for sure thing, but let's keep our fingers crossed that their story might one day come to light!

MorganE said...

I myself love family series books - you get insight to all of the characters and see them transform into someone new when they have met "the one." I've never been close to my family but I love books that revolve around them, just seems like it momentarily fills the small hole that is empty.

MorganE said...

Oh and for my part of england...i just want to get there, doesn't matter where! I've only been out of the country once and it was to Mexico. Don't get me wrong, Mexico has many beautiful things to see but I want to experience England. There's so much history there to see!

Charlotte Featherstone said...

Morgan, I hear you about fictional families! There's a certain draw to them, isn't there? I hope my Westlakes are like that for readers.

And any part of England is fantastic. It's just so beautiful!

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