Finding The Right Location
My novel, The Longing, is a domestic noire, a thriller with many twists and turns, and is currently doing the rounds of Agent Querying. Without giving all the game away, my protagonist Jen, who is childless, plans to steal her friend Ella's baby when born, which may or may not include murder. I mean, just how far would you go to turn a friends problem to your solution?
When I was researching, plotting and planning, before even starting to write the first draft, I gave a lot of thought to the location of various scenes. Getting the setting or settings right is as important as any other aspect of a novel. I wanted the locations to reflect Jen's thoughts and feelings. I specifically needed somewhere that not only contrasted with east London and north Kent, but where Jen could also hide in plain sight of the local community.
The East London location was easy ~ loosely based on Hoxton and Whitechapel. Busy, diverse and a world away from locations on the Kent coast.
I know the coastal towns quite well, each town having it's own personality and quirkiness. From Margate with its quintessential seaside front, along with a theme park, Dreamland, and not to mention The Turner gallery. But, the town was too brash, busy and sparkly for my storyline. To Broadstairs with its beautiful sandy beach, and various festivals including Dickens Festival held in the third week of June, and Folk Music Festival held in August. Close, but no cigar!
photo credit: aroundmargate.co.uk
photo credit: coastwalkers.co.uk
Then I drove to a town I'd only briefly visited once before, Deal. As soon as I arrived I knew this was my location.
Deal is 84 miles from London and is situated where the North Sea meets the Channel. It is an old fashioned seaside town that is calm and gentle and lends a certain charm to the storyline.
It has a pier with a lovely cafe ~ one or two scenes are based here.
The sculpture below is sited at the entrance to the pier.
Deal has a long esplanade to stroll along, connecting Deal with the neighbouring town of Walmer. Past working fishing vessels and up to the Castle. A beautiful sea front with candy coloured houses. Scenes set in the pub / restaurant were inspired by The Royal Hotel and Boathouse Restaurant. On a nice sunny day you can sit on the terrace and look out to sea, and if you squint, the purple haze on the horizon is France.
Deal would prove to be the perfect setting for an imperfect crime.
nb all Deal photos are authors own