Today I’m thrilled to welcome Mick Arnold to my blog, talking about the setting of his novel, The Season For Love. Take it away, Mick.
Tell me about the setting for The Season For Love.
The best way to describe where 'The Season for Love' is just some generic village that's somewhere in my mind.
Was it inspired by a real place?
Following on from the above really.. Not really. My lady wife and I have had a lot of holidays in the UK these last few years and so have spent a lot of time in little, picturesque English villages, so it's an amalgam of all of those. Though I suspect there's an element of Midsummer Murders in there too (without so many bodies though).
Do you have a firm idea of the layout? For example, have you drawn maps or diagrams?
No. With hindsight though, that would be a good idea. If I ever write a sequel though, then I'd give it a go. I do know of authors who do do maps of their locations, sometimes including them in their books too. I know Milly Johnson did one in her last book, and I think Sue Moorcroft has one for herself of Middledip (one of my favourite places to lose myself by the way).
Do you have any special routine, visual aids, etc to get you into the right ‘place’ when writing?
I certainly have to be in the right mood. If I'm in a dark place, then the writing tends to be of the same tone, which can be useful, but if I want to write something light, I sometimes have to wait. However, I can't tend to write in the quiet. There has to be music of a film on in the background.
What’s the first book you read where the setting made a vivid impression?
Easy. When I was at school, we had to read 'The Silver Sword' by Ian Serrallier. It's a book about Jewish children refugees at the tale end of World War II/just afterwards and the descriptions were vivid and so powerful to a thirteen year old mind. It is a truly insipring book.
Have you ever chosen a book purely based on its setting? If so, what was it and why did the setting appeal?
Am I allowed to say Terry Pratchett's Discworld series? Is that a valid location? Well, that's what I choose. Now, I just need to develop his sense of humour!
Mick lives in darkest Northamptonshire with his Lady Wife and a psychotic cat, Drucilla, aka ‘The Anti-Kitty’. He’d been writing on and off for a number of years before deciding to give it a serious go in 2010, the final results of which remain safely locked away.
After discovering a belated love for romantic literature, he joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Scheme in 2013, graduating with the release of his debut novel, ‘The Season for Love’, in 2017.
He is an active member of the RNA and enjoys the various branch meetings throughout the year. A keen movie lover as well as writer, he finds a lot of his inspiration from various songs he hears on the radio and, subsequently (through there not being enough hours in the day), holds a grudge against Radio 2 for providing him with multiple story ideas.
In a previous life, Mick served in the Royal Air Force for fifteen years, seeing much of the world at HM the Queen’s expense; which worked out nicely for everyone concerned. He much prefers writing to working and looks forward to the time when he can call his writing desk his workplace.
Twitter - @Mick859
Facebook Author Page – M W Arnold Author
You never get over a broken heart. You just paper over the cracks and try to keep going.
Goodnight Richie. I miss you.
Pressing a kiss to the picture she kept on her bedside table, she placed her diary down and turned off the light. Staring into the darkness, Chrissie could do nothing but wait for the tears to start. It had been the same routine each and every night since that terrible day eighteen months ago and tonight would be no different. So, drawing the duvet tighter, she succumbed to reliving the day that her husband had been killed. Drawing her knees towards her chest, she let the guilt and tears flood out until exhausted, she collapsed into the usual haunted slumber.
§ § §
The next day dawned way too early and through bloodshot brown eyes. Swinging her feet out of bed, Chrissie shuffled into the tatty pair of her husband’s slippers, tugged on her old fluffy white dressing gown and reluctantly made her way to the bathroom. She shrugged her shoulders and slid the mirror on the bathroom cabinet sideways. Looking at her reflection was not something that she wanted to deal with that morning. Ten minutes later, she’d tied her shoulder length auburn hair back into a pony-tail and pulled on a pair of black jeans, matching pullover and a pair of yellow Doc Martens that clashed horribly with the rest of her outfit. Everyone at school had been nagging her to add a bit of color to the predominantly black she’d taken to wearing and she’d found that Richie’s old boots fitted her perfectly; so long as she wore a thick pair of socks.
Working in the school’s IT Department had been her first job after she’d left university and it was where she’d met Physical Education teacher Richard Stewart. It so happened that they’d been starting on the same day and consequently, they’d spent the whole day trawling through the usual endless orientation and paperwork and found they’d gotten on like the proverbial house on fire. When they’d been introduced and he’d said, ‘call me Mr. Fit Guy or MFG for short,’ and she hadn’t either laughed out loud or slapped his face, an unspoken understanding had flashed between them and, as they left the premises later that afternoon, they’d wandered off to the nearest pub and spent until closing time talking about everything and nothing and loving every minute.
Grabbing her bag, Chrissie locked the car and trudged up the steps of Parkway Grange Primary School, through the still empty atrium and down the corridor towards her shared office. If she was lucky, she’d be able to settle at her desk before her boss got in. She loved Annie Suso, but though they were best friends, she was getting a little tired of starting each day by being asked how she was doing? Annie wasn’t saying the actual words these days, but Chrissie was finding it very annoying at how much you could put into a raised eyebrow!
As the door opened, she knew her luck was out, so she plastered on her most convincing smile and looked up into her friend’s emerald green eyes. The daily routine followed its expected course. Annie didn’t need to know that she’d rushed out of her cottage that morning because the stupid radio DJ had insisted upon playing “their song”.
Picking up the To-Do list, she scanned down it for the most mind-numbing job, quickly locating a teacher who’d been using his DVD tray as a cup holder. Grabbing her diary from her bag, she told Annie where she was going and that she’d see her later. One of the benefits of working with her best friend was that she had the freedom to do pretty much what she wanted, it being just the pair of them in the whole department. The children were just starting to arrive so hurrying along the corridor she nipped into the staff toilets, opened a cubicle door, sat down on the seat and took out her diary.
‘Hi Richie. Well, things are still the same as yesterday, and the day before and the day before that. You know, I visualize you watching over me, it’s the only comfort I have. Oh, I could sit here all day and talk to you, just like we used to in the common room. Do you remember how many times we were called in to see the Headmistress because I’d made you late for your classes? Felt very much like a kid, but I miss those times so much.
Right, sorry, got to go and see some idiot about a computer now.
Love you babe. I miss you.’
§ § §
Driving home that night, Chrissie wondered for the thousandth time why she didn’t change jobs and move away. Truth was she didn’t want to be too far from Richard’s grave. He’d grown up in Parkway Grange, been educated in the same Primary school, then the neighboring village’s Secondary and finally the College in the nearest town five miles away. He’d only been away to University to get his Physical Education Degree and then hot-footed it back when he’d lucked out with the offer of Physical Education teacher at the Village’s Primary school. Then, he had died in the village.
Automatically, she took a left turn before her cottage and parked up outside the cemetery. It was a typical late November evening so sighing resignedly she put up her umbrella as she got out of the car and, shielding her face as best she could from the rain, pushed open the gate and strolled down the pathway to the shade of an ancient beech tree. Sitting down on the bench, she leant forward, ignoring the dripping of the rainwater down her neck and brushing some leaves off the small granite headstone, focused on the most important words in the world:
See you in my dreams Richie. Forever, Your beloved Chrissie
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