Setting the Scene for my First Novel

There’s nothing better than completely losing yourself in a story. Reading a good book, writing in a journal, or crafting a story of your own creation- it’s the most amazing form of escapism.

I always wanted to write a book. When I was little, my mother would take my sisters and me to the library to pick out books to read each week. Every visit, I would check to see if any authors had already published in my name (they hadn’t!). Now as an adult, I have started to write my first novel. I finally understand how Jo in Little Women felt when she said she had “ten stories in her head right now!”

Using the old phrase, “write what you know”, I started this book by making lists. First, a list of things that I know (museums, history, art), and then a list of things that I want to experience (being abroad, the English countryside, living in a manor house).

The desire to live in the English countryside made choosing my setting easy.  On a trip to England, my husband and I were visiting a museum. At the information desk there were pamphlets for a nearby historic estate. As soon as I saw the picture I knew that I wanted to incorporate the house in my book.

Chawton House- First Novel

The place that inspired me  is Chawton House, the home of Jane Austen’s brother, Edward, and a spot that she frequented quite often. Walking up to it, I loved the stone facade with gabled peaks and burnt orange roof tiles. The house in my book will be a bit more gloomy and larger. It will also be the holder of dark secrets that I hope Jane Austen never had to contend with!

It’s settings like these that keep me inspired in my writing- anytime I need a push, I look through my images of this house with it’s interior of dark paneled walls, commanding staircases and extensive gardens (complete with a walled rose garden, sigh!) keeps me going!

Are you writing your first novel?  Do you have a specific place that inspired you to write?

Chawton Garden

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