Anywhere in the World
by Zoe Miller
One of the more enjoyable aspects about reading a chick lit book is that we can be whisked away almost anywhere – to a luxury yacht on the sun-drenched Mediterranean or a cosy bookstore in downtown New York, to the golden sands of the Caribbean or a castle in France – even when we’re sitting in our own backyard. We read for lots of different reasons; to relax, to pass the time, to have our emotions touched so that we laugh and cry, to identify with characters and feel connected. A good book helps us to feel less alone, but vital to the whole experience is somewhere appealing we can escape to.
As authors, one of the more enjoyable things about writing chick lit is that we can be sitting at our desks on a dull, rainy afternoon, yet we can imagine ourselves anywhere in the world.
Location is important. It’s not just about constructing paragraphs of beautiful description. It’s the living, breathing world of our novel, the time and space our characters inhabit. It sets the scene for our characters and it colours the backdrop against which the action will happen. Location needs to be an attractive, inviting setting the reader will want to spend time in. Even in this day and age of internet armchair travel, it’s more convincing if we write about places we know, if we’ve been there already and absorbed the various sights and sounds, so that we can recreate a location convincingly and make it come alive. I think I’ve used all my holiday trips by now in various novels and when I’m writing about different places, I always take out my photographs and pore over them to help recall the atmosphere. My photographs are taken purposely to help me remember the details, so in a sense, even when I’m on holidays I’m working!
But chick lit locations don’t always have to be about glamorous, exotic, faraway places, the scent of sun tan oil, or the dazzle of a highly polished yacht. Sometimes the most evocative settings can be a squashy sofa in a quaint cafe on the corner, laced with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans, a welcoming kitchen scented with herbs and spices, a room with a spectacular view of the restless sea, or a bedroom with a high, cushiony bed overlooking a silvery canal. I’ve used a beauty spot near my home town of Dublin as a central location in one of my novels. Even a romantic park or a pretty back garden can be a very alluring setting that entices the reader into another world.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping to escape to the south of Spain this summer for a couple of weeks. But it won’t all be rest and relaxation; it’ll be a chance to research, of course! In between the reading I plan to catch up on, I’ll be busy going around with my camera. ☺ ☼
Zoe Miller was born and reared in Dublin, where she lives surrounded by an encouraging and hugely supportive family, including a husband who’s one hundred and ten per cent behind her, otherwise there would be no books. He is also able to cook, which is good, otherwise there would be no cooking. Zoe has always loved reading, and books have been a magical part of her life since she was first introduced to the wonders of the children’s section of Inchicore library. She began writing around then and her writing career has included school plays, short fiction and freelance journalism. There were a few of swings and roundabouts in the great carousel of life before Zoe had time and space to achieve my dream of writing a novel and she was first published by Hachette Ireland in 2009.