As you read this, I am somewhere in England, traipsing over the countryside near Keswick–famous during the 19th century for poets and pencils, known then and now for its breathtaking beauty.
A panoramic view of Keswick, Derwentwater and the surrounding fells. Photo by David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
Pencil-making at Keswick, 1854
October, sadly, is the wettest month of the year in northwest England–by several inches–but I am hoping my new hiking boots are up to the task.
My primary purpose for this trip, aside from the very real pleasure of seeing a few college friends, is for research. The book I am hoping to finish this week (oh please, dear Muse!) is set largely in southern Cumbria–which is also on the agenda.
Greta Hall and Keswick Bridge. William Westall, c. 1840. (public domain)
My friend Helen and I will be visiting Blists Hill Victorian Town (a living history sort of museum, or so I understand), Mayfair (because nearly every English historical romance is set there at least part of the time), the Jack the Ripper museum (it promises to be stomach-churningly gruesome so I suppose we’ll have to eat afterwards…), a tour of Parliament with a friend who reportedly does lofty important things there, a few literary landmarks like Jane Austen’s house and Stratford-upon-Avon, and what I fully expect to be a record number of tea shops and pubs en route.
Jane Austen’s House, Chawton, Hampshire. By Rudi Riet. CC BY-SA 2.0,via Wikimedia Commons
I’ve never truly taken a writing research trip before. I have found unexpected inspiration on trips to Italy, Paris, New York, Nebraska, Ohio, and other places, but this is the first time I’m setting out to go where I want to go solely for the purpose of gathering information for my writing (with the advice and consent of my traveling companion, of course, who is strangely willing to indulge me–thank you, Helen!).
I’ll be scribbling in notebooks and taking lots of pictures to share with you all, and I hope the Muses will help fill my head with wonderful stories to tell when I return in about a week–starting with a new book for NaNoWriMo.
Until then, may your Muse be with you, whatever your endeavor, wherever you are.
The Muses Garden, by Lionel Noel Royer (public domain)
A lawyer in real life, Marin McGinnis feeds the more creative part of her soul by writing Victorian era romance and mystery. She’s spent almost half her life in a tree-lined, unabashedly liberal suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She’s been married to the same great guy for over 20 years, and has one teen-aged son. They all live together in a drafty old house with their two standard poodles, Larry and Sneaky Pete.
While her very first book will languish under the bed, the next book, Stirring Up the Viscount, won two contests in 2013 and was published by The Wild Rose Press in January 2015. Her next two books, Secret Promise and Tempting Mr. Jordan, are also available from Wild Rose Press.
Marin currently serves as President of the Northeast Ohio chapter of Romance Writers of America and is hard at work on the next book.
You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.