The MOST inspiring, romantic or dangerous




Topic: What is the most inspiring, romantic, or dangerous setting you ever come across while reading or imagined while writing? Do you have a preference for a certain time and place for a story?

Wow! This is a difficult one because it covers a lot of emotional ground.

There’s a book called The Memory of Love written by Aminatta Forno. It’s set in Sierra Leone after the civil war and I could, with hand on heart, say it includes the most inspiring, most romantic and most dangerous settings I’ve read about. The three main protagonists are the local villain, the visiting UK psychiatrist and the young local hospital doctor.

It’s inspiring because it shows how normality returns to domestic and political life after even the traumas of civil war. And it’s set under huge African skies with endless beaches, too.

It’s romantic because the love between man and woman is central to the story. And because, for one half of one of the couples, the African experience is what tips him into the romance.

It’s dangerous because the possibility of war and outrages, betrayals and acts of superhuman kindness go on forever. And the truth has not always come out in everyday life.

So, the short answer is Sierra Leone.

Part Two: Do you have a preference for a certain time and place for a story?

When I’m writing the story and it’s novel length, then yes, I do. That would be nineteenth century Edinburgh or London. It would be after the Napoleonic wars are over and probably just post Regency, although still with the Georgians in the person of George Fourth.

I enjoy that moment when English becomes modern. I studied Anglo Saxon and Middle English as part of my degree and when you get to Jane Austen, there’s a sigh of relief. No more looking up every second spelling in the dictionary or fretting over the grammar.

In terms of place, I love the architecture of Edinburgh, where I live, and London where I am able to visit. I would like to write about Bath, too, but I’ve only been once and that was to buy a wedding present, so I don’t feel I know it well enough. However, I am hoping to include some Scottish country towns in future projects.

When I’m reading, then I’m open to different times and places. I read a lot of historical fiction, but through the good offices of my Book Group, a lot of modern writing, too. The Memory of Love, for instance, was a book group read.

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* Lynn Crain at
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