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Author Robert Scragg on location for Seven Days

  • Submitted: 3rd April 2024

Author Robert Scragg on location 

One of the questions I’ve been asked most since I’ve been published, is why I’ve chosen the locations I have to set my stories in. My first four, written as Robert Scragg, are all set in London. 

Rob Scragg

Rob Scragg

I was working there when I wrote the first two, and seemed like the right choice for those particular stories to play out. Spoiler alert – I’m not from London. I’m North East born and bred, and have been itching to set something closer to home for a while now.

Literary Locations in Seven Days

Seaside, Whitley Bay (c) The BookTrail

Seaside, Whitley Bay (c) The BookTrail

Literary Locations in Seven Days

My new book, under my new writing name of Robert Rutherford, is called “Seven Days” and does exactly that. It starts in Whitley Bay, just a couple of miles from where I actually live! I spend a lot of time by beach at Whitley. It’s one of my favourite places to hang out with the kids on weekends. So to set scenes where Alice, my main character, walks along the exact same paths we do felt like the perfect sentimental place to start.

The Spanish City (c) The BookTrail

The Spanish City (c) The BookTrail

Literary Locations in Seven Days

Then you’ve got particular venues like the iconic Spanish City dome. I remember going to the amusement arcades here as a kid. I would pump my pocket money into the coin slots, saving just enough for a bag of chips with lashings of salt and vinegar for the way home.

Paris at Christmas (c) The BookTrail

Literary Locations in Seven Days


From there things jump much further afield. Alice finds herself in Paris, torn between ignoring the father she hates and helping the sister she loves. Paris is a real cultural melting pot, with some amazing layers of history to peel back. In Seven Days we visit one of the oldest prisons in the city – La Sante – once home to infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackal. It was the scene of multiple executions by guillotine when the death penalty still existed in France. It jumped out at me as having such a presence as a building that it felt like a perfect stage to host a key scene.

Literary Locations in Seven Days

From there we bounce across to Île de la Cité, an island in the Seine that’s home to Notre Dame Cathedral and the Prefecture de Police. This turned out to be the perfect home base for my fictional global law enforcement agency. I’ve only visited once so far, but just love the contrast between the ancient and modern that you see across the city, and would love to go back!

East River, New York

Literary Locations in Seven Days


Last but by no means least, part of the story takes place in the USA. I love a good ticking clock in a thriller – something to really propel the plot along, and how much more high stakes can you get than the countdown to an execution. The logical setting then for somewhere with the death penalty was America. My condemned prisoner is in Florida, but the action in the book takes place in New York. It’s held a special significance to me for a long time. My oldest brother lives over there, and has done since the Eighties. I’ve visited a number of times and it’s just such a cool place to explore, and it felt like a fresh experience every time. The key scenes in Seven days take place across a range of settings – from tree lined midtown Manhattan streets, to the promenade by the banks of the East River.

Literary Locations in Seven Days


Last but by no means least, a few of the closing scenes take place back in Whitley Bay. Two locations stand out for me. The first is St Mary’s Lighthouse – scene of many a rock pooling adventure as a child, and more recently as a parent with my own kids. Second is one of my favourite coffee shops – Nine Streets Café on Earsdon Road. Large chunks of Seven Days were written there, fuelled by bacon sandwiches, scones and lattes, so seemed a perfect place to set one of the final scenes there. My characters sipping a cuppa there is art imitating life at its best!

 

Many thanks Rob for the mega tour!

 

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Seven Days

Twitter: @rutherfordbooks

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