Books set in a Travel Agency with Helen Bridgett
If a writer loves to explore destinations and people going on all kinds of journeys then what better place to set your book than in a travel agency?
So, if The Heat is On…..let’s jet off with Helen Bridgett
I’m not sure why I decided to set my books in a travel agency but I’m glad I did as they’ve given me the chance to relive so many happy memories and plough through mountains of photographs (and as I tend to do a lot of hiking on holiday the mountains of photos tend to be photos of mountains!)
So far I’ve based the adventures of my characters Angie and Patty on places I’ve already been. In The Mercury Travel Club I actually stayed in the New York Hotel with the full length bathroom windows that I write about and at the time I did think they were probably opaque until I stood outside and realized I could see inside. I could imagine Angie being horrified at the lack of privacy but Patty being absolutely delighted to have the whole of New York as her audience!
Amsterdam features in The Heat Is On and I’ve visited the city many times, I really do love the beauty of the architecture, calmness of the canals and of course the art galleries. On one trip with my girlfriends we visited the Stedelijk Museum which is the museum of modern art and it’s safe to say that one of my friends was a bit baffled by it all. There’s a scene in the novel where Patty and Angie come across a mop and bucket in the middle of the gallery and ask each other whether that’s one of the exhibits – well this really happened. I walked up to my friend to find out what exhibit she was “appreciating” to find her staring at a mop and bucket.
‘I’m not sure what they’re trying to say with this piece,’ she told me shaking her head.
A nano-second later a cleaner arrived, took the “exhibit” and started mopping the floor – we both simply burst out laughing.
Although I have travelled extensively, I’m a real advocate for the UK and honestly believe that we have some of the most beautiful countryside and the most stunning beaches anywhere in the world. I particularly love the coastline of the North East (where I’m from) and Scotland – where I go at least once a year with my chocolate Labrador, Angus.
I based the treasure trail in The Heat is On around the west coast of Scotland and if you haven’t been there, you really must go. Hire yourself a sports car and go whizzing around the hairpin bends of Bleanach na Ba near Applecross. When I was there last I’d taken a campervan and my goodness, negotiating something the size of a small bus around those roads was pretty scary!
One of the reasons for choosing to feature Scotland was the library in the woods that I found on the Isle of Arran. We hiked the most beautiful heather filled paths, past waterfalls and gullies to come to a grass-roofed hut that was simply magical. I fell in love with it and knew I had to include it in the book. We drove from Arran onto Islay where the sandy beaches are endless and empty; if you love your whisky then this is the island to visit. Although it’s only 25 miles long – there are eight distilleries here and if craft beer or gin is more your thing – then yep, Islay has it too!
I think you do have to visit the places you mention in your books as simply doing a little online research won’t pick up the small details that make all the difference and it certainly won’t give you tales to recount. I hope that I manage to relay not only the visual beauty of the places I mention but the way they make you feel; the excitement of New York, the serenity of the Scottish islands and the sheer sense of fun that friends have when travelling together. Nowadays whenever I visit somewhere new, I’m always thinking about my characters; recently I went to Iceland and found myself on a whale-watching boat in full length waterproofs with thinking,
‘Hmm – now what trouble Patty could cause here?’
Watch this space to find out !
Thank you Helen for showing us around not only your book’s settings but for taking us to that gorgeous library in the woods!
BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Heat is On