Where it’s at

This is a repeat of a blog which, for some reason was not visible when I posted it; herre it is again:

Most of my books are set in an imaginary place, the coastline stretching between the small seaside town of Easthope, and the larger city of Strand, and the villages in the countryside inland. Most people think because I live beside the sea and there is a big city nearby that I’m basing these two places on the town where I live, Weston-super-Mare… but no, Easthope is a very small town with a population of maybe only a couple of thousand, and although it may have holiday makers, its heyday as a seaside town has passed, unlike Weston which is continuing to try to develop the tourist industry. Strand is not based on Bristol either; Strand has a little port and a harbour, but it is mainly the vestiges of the fishing industry which can be seen there in my imaginary world!

Easthope and Strand are on a north coast; the sea is quite clean and often blue, the beaches along the coast are sandy and rocky, and off-shore is an island Farholm, which has a small resident population of its own. Easthope was once a fishing village, and did have wharves and small warehouses, now gone, and its watermills which were once an important little industry for the town have now become a restaurant and night club and a small hotel. In recent years, as my stories based there have progressed, the town has turned itself around from being a rather sad and neglected place; the tatty shops selling beach gear to the holiday makers of yesteryear have closed, and have become smarter, and more upmarket, meeting the demands of the ‘new’ people who have moved in. The bookshop, which features in many of my stories, now has a second branch opened in Strand and is popular and well-used, against the usual trend of real bookshops to be neglected and abandoned to bigger chain book sellers, and on-line retailers. There is a rather grotty housing estate at the back of the town, and although improved over the years, is still rather grotty.

Strand, my imaginary small city is a bustling and improving place too. It has a harbour area which has gone ‘upmarket’ with restaurants, design studios and an estate agent which often appears in my novels. It has an old central area with small shops, similar to the Lanes in Brighton but in no way based on it. Strand has a hospital, Strand Royal, a University and an airport, and a long history dating back to beyond Roman times. Strand was quite an important Viking centre too, first settled by Ingar Silverskin and his followers.

Other places feature in my stories; all totally from my imagination, Castair a rather depressing and run-down post-industrial town which relied heavily in its brickworks for employment in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Opal harbour is a tiny little place, now barely more than a couple of former fishermen’s cottages with a café in one; there’s evidence here of quarrying, and an old lime kiln can be seen.

The great thing about an imaginary place is that you can put in whatever you want, but it is still important to be consistent, and i do keep track of what is happening in my various novels, and some businesses, hotels, restaurants, cafés recur in different stories. The places develop in their imaginary world, just as they would if they really existed.

Into the light

Secret door to a secret place

Ballintoy 7 Bristol 1 (17)

If you want to read about my imaginary places, and who lives there and what happens to them, here is a link to my ebooks:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

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