I’m writing a new series – there, I’ve said it out loud. The plan is for a fairly long series, but should that all go to pot I can make it shorter, even into a trilogy, or quite possibly, at the moment, a standalone. However, they, or it, turns out, though I’m returning to the fictional village of Melton to set them/it in.
I originally came up with Melton for The Grayson Trilogy. Melton was the village set outside the walls of the Melton Manor Estate and readers of that series will know that most of the action takes place on the estate itself. The characters only occasionally leave the estate to visit the pub in Melton, The Red Calf. Other than inside the pub itself there was no description about the village at all so I’m enjoying the phase of building my village to suit my needs.
I’m no artist, I wish I were as I have a large board which I’ve covered in paper and I’m attempting to draw the village, or at least the part of it that features in the first story, which is based around the riding school. It’s a bit rubbish (the drawing that is, hopefully not the story!) but it gives me the general idea of how things are set out, and as the series, possibly, grows it will ensure I keep everything in the village in the right place.
Followers of mine were recently asked for the names of their favourite ponies/horses from childhood and these now populate the riding school so at least the first book is coming together, with horses if nothing else.
The nice thing about returning to Melton is that firstly, it feels quite comforting, like coming home, (and who doesn’t need that at the moment) and secondly, I thought I might bring some of the characters from the Grayson Trilogy into the stories I create in Melton itself. That’s just a thought at the moment but I do have a useful collection of people just waiting on the estate to play their part if I can find them something to do.
I like creating fictional places too as it gives me free rein to design them exactly as want them. When I was a child I used to have some wooden blocks that I used to build my ideal home – bear with me, it might sound dull to any youngsters that wander this way but it was years before the internet made an appearance. I’d start off with a basic house, which got extended, then I’d decide I needed a garage, then I’d add stables, paddocks and so on, ending up building a wall round the lot – sound familiar? It grew and grew. That’s what I like to be able to do with my setting, build it and add to it as I go along so it has everything in it I need. I like the flexibility. I did it with the Melton estate and now I’m getting to do it with the village. Yay!
I’m also changing genre a little, possibly. My books tend to be cross genre anyway and have a thrillery vibe to them (that so is a word) but I’m thinking certainly the first one in this next series will be more psychological thriller. And this is one of my other worries. Can I keep the entire series in the same genre, cos that would make sense, right? Right.
How about you, do you like creating, or reading about, fictional settings? Or do you like your stories based somewhere real? And what do you think about genre hopping? It’s making me anxious…