Location, Location…

If you’ve read my books, you’ll know I like to set them in locations slightly off the beaten path–very few Mayfair ballrooms for me! Stirring Up the Viscount takes place largely in County Durham, England, where I spent a year in college. Secret Promise characters can be found in Boston, where my mother lives, an island in Lake Erie an hour or two from my house, and Wallsend and Tynemouth in Northumberland, inspired by this photo of Tynemouth Priory:

Tynemouth Priory. Photo by Chris McKenna (Thryduulf) via Wikimedia Commons

My third book, which I’ve just finished–finally–takes place in Maine, inspired in part by this gorgeous painting by Frederic Edwin Church in the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Twilight in the Wilderness (1860), by Frederic Edwin Church. Cleveland Museum of Art.

Dalemain House, Penrith, Cumbria. (Source: VisitCumbria.com.)


My next book is unrelated to my first three, and takes place in a location inspired by own family tree. My paternal grandmother’s ancestors hailed–some five centuries ago–from Kendal, England. Formerly in the County of Westmoreland and now part of Cumbria, Kendal lies just south of the more famous Lake District. The heroine in the book is an heiress from Kendal, and might live in a Georgian home like this one.


Levens Hall, Kendal, Cumbria. (Source: BritainExpress.com)

Or possibly  a 12th century house like this one, which was owned by the Bellingham family from 1562 to 1688. If my family history is accurate–no guarantees there–there are Bellinghams in my family tree.  I’m hoping to head over that way this summer (assuming I don’t sell my house, which looks less likely with each passing day) to tromp through graveyards in search of ancestors, and soak up atmosphere for the next book.

What inspires you in your writing or your reading? Any ideas where I should set the next book? I’m always on the lookout for the next great location!

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About Marin McGinnis

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.

17 Responses to Location, Location…

  1. Your location research is fascinating! I did a lot of research on 1950s Vegas for my trilogy set there, but I mainly stick to imaginary places. Less room for error on my part!
    Lori Sizemore recently posted…Weekly Tweets on All Things Writing 05.16.2016My Profile

    • Thanks, Lori! Vegas in the 50s must have been a wild place–I’ll bet that research was fun! I know what you mean about imaginary places, but I can never come up with any place that’s as interesting as the real thing, wherever it is. 🙂

  2. Nina Croft says:

    How amazing, Marin, I’m actually from Kendal – spent my first 18 years there before I fled south in search of the sun. But rain aside, it’s a gorgeous part of the country. Hope you get to visit.

    I’m not quite sure what inspires me, but different things all the time. Probably more ideas than actual physical things.

    • Really? I knew you were from the north but didn’t remember where. I will have to run the book by you to make sure I haven’t said anything stupid! 🙂 I realized when I was researching train timetables that I passed through Kendal on my way to Windermere about 15 years ago–I didn’t know then my grandmother’s family originated there or I would have stopped. It is beautiful, though!

      Inspiration is a funny thing–you never know where it will come from. Writing this post I thought it was interesting how often I’m inspired by physical things, much more so than ideas.

      • Nina Croft says:

        Hey, we might be related – though I doubt I have Bellinghams in my family tree – maybe their scullery maid!

        My sister lives in Windermere – I’ll put you in touch if you go – she writes as well.

        • Maybe we are! I have quite a few ancestors who hailed from that part of England, but many of them left for Ireland in the 16th century. One ancestor was the right-hand man to the Sheriff of Westmorland in the 1400s–apparently a Guy of Gisborne type. I’d love to think he looked like Richard Armitage, but somehow I doubt that. 😉 Now that is a story that needs to be told one of these days! And I’d love to meet your sister. 🙂

  3. Gorgeous pictures, Marin, and what an interesting blog! My historical romance, the Rhythm of the Moon series, is set in what I call King’s Harbour, but it was inspired by a trip to Rye, on the southern coast of England. I’ll never forget standing on Mermaid Street at midnight, the wind from the English Channel blowing in my face. This moment in time inspired Book #1, Mercy of the Moon, set in the 18th Century.

  4. Donna Dalton says:

    I so enjoy books set in out of the way places. Makes them much more fascinating. My current WIP is set in the Indian Territories of the American West. So many interesting opportunities to explore with these settings 🙂

  5. Tesa Devlyn says:

    Hi Marin, We are kindred souls! I’m also driven by locations and love to travel to my book settings, whether they’re 15 miles away or 6,000. I also love visiting the UK and plan to return next summer. I look forward to reading your books!

  6. Great post. I, too, choose many locations near me or where I have visited. It’s so much fun. BTW–I had a lake house at Conneaut Lake and am familiar with Lake Erie. 🙂

  7. Jeannie says:

    Love the pics, Marin! What beautiful homes! No wonder you wrote about them – or some variation on them. Great post!

  8. Pingback: Me, elsewhere

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