Imagination and Inspiration
by Loretta Chase

Most of the time I have no idea where my ideas come from. Sometimes, though, it’s obvious.

I know that one story started with Dartmoor, in Devon, England.

Dartmoor had long haunted my imagination, because of the Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles. It’s not the only place that ever took hold of my mind, but it’s one of the few I actually got to.

It was everything I expected and more. Brooding atmosphere as far as the eye could see. I came back home and wrote LORD OF SCOUNDRELS. No doubt about it: Lord Dain was conceived one day on a hill overlooking the moor.

“His was a Dartmoor soul, where the wind blew fierce and the rain beat down upon grim, grey rocks, and where the pretty green patches of ground turned out to be mires that could suck down an ox.”

We visited the moor in late spring. Only a few miles away, the weather was warm and the rhododendrons (which I later used in the story to provide the concealment for a lovers’ tryst) were in riotous bloom. But Dartmoor has its own climate. Like Dain, it’s something apart. It’s big, scary at times, changeable, and gloomily beautiful. Its dangers and desolate appearance have given birth to numerous legends involving the Devil, pixies, and ghostly visitations.

Dain embodies the place: his harsh exterior, the stormy weather that’s his personality, the devil who seems to rule him, and the ghosts who haunt him.

He does have his funny side, but that’s because mine is a comic muse. I can’t write a tortured hero without making him slip on a banana peel. That, however, is a blog for another place and time.

What places have you read about that have haunted your imagination? Did you get there--and was it what you hoped for?

P.S. For more Lord of Scoundrels blogs, please join me at Romance B(u)y the Book on 15 November and at Word Wenches for a two part interview on 15 & 19 November.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Sherrie Holmes said:

Loretta, I've read so much about the Scottish Highlands, though I've never visited there. I would very much love to go, however. I'm sure I'll find everything that was ever described in all those Scottish romances. And I sure wouldn't complain if I found a genuine Scottish warrior in Highland dress!

You made Dartmoor come alive for me in Lord of Scoundrels, and you couldn't have chosen a better home--real or symbolic--for Dain. Although I have an older autographed copy of LOS, which I cherish, I believe I need the reissue, too, just for the beautiful cover, and to make it my perpetual reading copy so that I can preserve the original autographed one. *g*

Posting this again, as the first one seems to have disappeared. (hope it doesn't show up twice!)

3:27 AM  

Anonymous Loretta Chase said:

Thanks, Sherrie. Writing about Dartmoor made me want to go there again. I did get to the Scottish Highlands--and they were beyond what I expected. So were the guys in kilts. *g*

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