There’s no place like home

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.

Tell us about something local to where you live. Have you ever made it part of your stories?

I live in Devon, in the west of England. It’s such a varied and inspirational place, within ten minutes of leaving my house on foot I can be on the cliffs or the beach.

If I travel by car, in less than an hour, I can be in the middle of Dartmoor.

I’m sure that the variety of the scenery and the relaxed way of life here has inspired my writing.

I use walks on the cliffs to rehearse my stories, ideas come to me when I’m out and about on my own, as well as from overheard conversations in local coffee shops.

As what I’ve written so far mostly takes place in a universe of my own creation, local settings have not been directly used in any of my stories.

However, that’s all about to change.

My next novel, which I’m currently working on the second draft of, is set partly in present-day Devon.

Not only that, a novella that’s in progress (intended as a contribution to my writing group’s second anthology) features Devon’s past and the part its people played in the defeat of the Spanish Armada, back in 1588.

It’s a venture into a new genre for me, the research needed for historical fiction is fascinating and weaving a story in among the facts is strangely compelling.  As is bringing real people back to life and trying to match their thoughts and actions in my fiction with what is known of their lives.

Here’s a glimpse of the concept.

An old box, dredged up from the seabed amongst a haul of scallops and crabs, contains a secret from over four hundred years ago.

When Spain moved to invade England and restore the Papacy, they didn’t just send an Armada. Two years earlier than the fleet, the Pope sent the men of the brotherhood of San Faustina, to prepare the way for the conquering army. Their mission was to spread panic, disrupt defences and cement an alliance with the remaining English Catholics.

To do this, they possessed a fortune in Aztec gold, as well as plans for a new monarchy and social order. When the invasion failed, the brotherhood disbanded and the plot was forgotten.

The story of the last of them, Sebastian Alvarez De La Rapita, is still waiting to be told.

When news of the box’s discovery leaks, it becomes a race to uncover the whereabouts of the brotherhood’s last resting place.

And the Gold

Devon is so closely associated with the events of 1588, there are pubs near where we live that were standing in the time of the Armada and were frequented by Drake and Raleigh, among others.

Drakes’s antics on Plymouth Hoe are well known.

Spanish prisoners from captured ships were interred in Torquay.

All these facts mean that there is room for the fictional adventures I’m inventing to have a basis in the actual events of those times. And exploring the area around my home in greater detail, fitting it all together, is proving to be great fun.

Until next time.

Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.

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8 Responses

  1. sally cronin

    Devon is rich with history Richard so plenty to prompt stories from across the centuries… One of my all time favourites is Lorna Doone. I have moved around so much it is tough to actually call anywhere home, but usually I refer to it as ‘where the heart is’… but I certainly make good use of the places we have lived and visited.

    • Richard Dee

      Thanks, Sally. Devon is an inspirational place. I think it’s the time of year when we are all looking for a home, somewhere to be together.

  2. Samantha J Bryant

    This sounds so interesting! My little town is considered historical by American standards, having been established pre-revolutionary war, but I haven’t really written anything involving our history.

    • Richard Dee

      It’s a departure for me, mostly I write about nonexistent places. I’m learning so much about where I grew up in the process.

  3. P.J. MacLayne

    I learned about the Aztecs and the Spanish Armada in school, but never realized they were in the same time frame. This sounds like a really cool story.

    • Richard Dee

      It’s one of the cool things I’ve learned in my research. All I have to do now is write my version.

    • Richard Dee

      Yeah, there’s a lot of history crammed into Devon, I knew some but I’m finding so much more.

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