Friday, February 13, 2009

The Perfect Setting


I’m often asked where my story ideas spring from. An interesting face, lyrical tune, or unusual place name can send my mind racing away with a new story idea. But if I had to choose one type of stimuli that inspires me the most, I’d choose places.

When I visit historic houses and ancient villages or towns I always leave dying to use them as settings in my books. Although I write paranormal romance and not historical romance, the sense of history that oozes from the very stones of the buildings sets my blood racing. I’m lucky that living in England I have access to many ancient buildings and acres of mystical countryside. I love walking through a medieval manor house seeing the swords and armor on the walls, walking across flagstone floors knowing I’m treading in the footsteps of people long dead who walked their centuries earlier. Once I have a story idea, I read about myths, legends, and folk law to give me ideas on how to blend paranormal elements with the setting.

My debut book The Magic Knot is partly set in Ireland. My inspiration for the Irish fairy queen’s mansion that features in the story is a beautiful Palladian mansion called Powerscourt. The house stands in 47 acres of gardens within the Wicklow Mountains near Enniskerry, a few miles from Dublin. A castle has stood on the site since 1300. The current structure was refurbished in 1974 in preparation for opening to the public. Tragically, on completion of the work, the house was gutted by fire before it could open. The pictures of the beautiful house engulfed in fire brought tears to my eyes. Due to the cost, only the exterior was restored again. The interior now houses craft shops. Despite this, the house and gardens are magical.

My inspiration for the setting of the Cornish pub where Niall O’Connor, the hero of The Magic Knot, lives is a little Cornish village called Lerryn. My husband and I had a wonderful weekend trip exploring the tiny villages of Cornwall and the beautiful village on the River Lerryn is so magical, I quite believe fairies live there.

Please visit my website to read a two chapter excerpt of The Magic Knot.

Back Cover Copy The Magic Knot

What woman wouldn’t be attracted to Niall O’Connor’s soft Irish brogue and dark good looks? But Rosenwyn Tremain must find her father, and she isn’t going to let a sexy, stubborn Irishman and his motorcycle distract her. Rose’s intuition tells her he’s hiding something, a secret even the cards cannot divine. Her tarot deck always reads true, but how can one man represent both Justice and Betrayal?

Magic. Niall’s body tingles with it when he finds the woman snooping in his room. Rosenwyn might believe she’s a no-nonsense accountant, but her essence whispers to him of ancient fairy magic that enslaves even as it seduces. Her heritage could endanger those he’d die to protect, but her powers and her passion, if properly awakened, might be the only thing that can save both their families, vanquish a fairy queen bent on revenge, and fulfill a prophecy that will bind their hearts together with…THE MAGIC KNOT

The second book in the Magic Knot Fairies fantasy romance series, The Phoenix Charm, is due for release in December 2009.


Savanna Kougar said...

Oh Helen, you are so lucky to have those magical, mystical places. That is a gorgeous pic.
Settings do inspire me, although, I don't think quite as much.
However, I would love to visit the British Isles and visit all those exquisite settings, and maybe meet a fairy or two.

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Thanks, Savanna.

I do love visiting historic houses. They always inspire. Strangely they inspire to write paranormal stories rather than historicals. I think it's the sense of otherworldliness.