My book was set in 1985, an exciting time. The first mobile call was made by comedian Ernest Wise in London on the !st of January via Vodaphone, Ronald Reagan was inaugurated for the second time, and Mikhail Gorbachev came into power in the USSR with dramatic consequences for the Berlin Wall subsequently.
It was set in three vastly different countries: Australia (in Sydney and Adelaide), the UK (in West Gidding, a village outside London) and Greece (on an island called Leros). I like to choose countries where I've lived in, or at least visited on holiday. This allows me to experience them through my five senses. The sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and texture all contribute to creating a reality that is convincing. Food and music are an obvious choice of subject for describing them. I hope this gives my writing an air of authenticity.
I showed how climate changed the behaviour of the characters. I liked that I was able to switch from the heat and beaches of Australia to the rain-swept, and therefore, very green West Sussex area in England. I was also able to contrast village life in England and Greece with city life in Australia and England, provincial life In England with buzzing London pub and cultural life, and Anglo-Saxon culture with Greek ethnic culture. I was able to describe how environment affects leisure time. For example, walking can be a feature of country life as opposed to attending shows and concerts in a metropolis such as London. Food is also affected by climate and leisure time. Variety in background allowed me to expand the story and give depth to the characters.
It allowed me to show my characters in different housing. For example, white-washed villages in Greece, could contrast with flintstone cottages in West Sussex and colonial-style wooden buildings in Australia, with terraces circumnavigating their outer walls. Such contrasts added richness to the fabric of the background. I also liked the way such changes of environment reflected the way the thinking of the characters changed.
Of course background supports the story of True to Herself as well as the characters.
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Barbara M Webb graduated in English at Queensland University, St Lucia. She has lived in 7 of the 52 countries she has visited. and now lives in Cornwall in the UK.