Monday, 2 July 2018

Guest Post - Why I Set Novels in Provence - Jane Dunning - Bookish World Cup - France

Will I only write novels set in Provence? I don’t know for sure but I’ve certainly enjoyed writing about the extended Ferguson family in my contemporary family sagas, Thirty-five Minutes from St Tropez and, its sequel, Stolen Summer.

I’d wanted to write a book for years, and when I finally had the inspiration to write my first novel, I was house-sitting on a vineyard in Provence, looking after four wonderful dogs who subsequently feature in both stories as themselves. As my imaginary main characters lived on the vineyard, they had to be fairly well-off to finance living there, the scene was therefore set for the family to be comfortably off and living fairly privileged lives on the French Riviera. Secondary characters live in an expensive apartment in Monaco and, in the stories, they seek to buy a second home in the Provençal countryside. Another character lives in a seafront Juan-les-Pins apartment but moves to Cap d’Antibes following a chance meeting in a café. These characters are in their early 60s and fifties and are grandparents to teenagers and tots. These youngsters feature in the stories too.

I particularly liked writing about the two older teenagers as one is studying French, Italian and Business Studies at university in Aix-en-Provence. I used to work at Bournemouth University so had a really good idea of what she might encounter, from a course management point of view. She organised her university placement at the Hotel Hermitage in Monaco which is a place I stayed in 2004 so it was enjoyable to write about the opulence and beauty of this Belle Époque hotel. As the story unfolds, her twin brother enjoys crewing on a couple of superyachts which gave me the opportunity to write about voyages to Italy and other parts of the Côte d’Azur. Having these young people in the stories, allowed me to explore their romantic liaisons which I enjoyed very much. Naturally, all doesn’t run smoothly!

In Thirty-five Minutes from St Tropez, apart from one or two incidences where things go wrong, the family have an idyllic time, celebrating the main characters’ fortieth wedding anniversary and their purchase of a classic sports car. However, in Stolen Summer, there is a constant thread of anxiety and fear running through the story, particularly for the main characters but, due to the closeness of the family members, all characters are affected.

If you like the idea of sunshine, stunning scenery, and family drama, I hope you will enjoy reading my two novels. Thirty-five Minutes from St Tropez sets the scene but I’m assured that Stolen Summer can be a stand-alone read. There are already reviews for both books but if you decide to read them, and enjoy them, please leave a review on either Amazon or Goodreads – it would be much appreciated.

Thank you so much Jane, I love the south of France myself and books set there are always a joy to read.

Jane Dunning was born in Guernsey (Channel Islands, UK) in the nineteen-fifties and moved to Bournemouth (on the south coast of England) with her family six months later. After school and secretarial college, her working career, predominantly in finance and latterly with Bournemouth University, spanned over thirty-five years. She has been married since 1974, lives in Poole, Dorset and enjoys travel, writing, walking and gardening. She has visited France every year since 1990 and has spent long periods in both Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon since retiring in 2007.

Please see my colourful Facebook Page for more information and photos of St Tropez and other parts of Provence:-

Informal additional information - Is France in my blood because I was born in Guernsey? I'm not sure, but I truly love our neighbour across the English Channel. I first travelled to France in 1978 when it had few motorways and advertisements for pastis were still painted directly onto old stone walls.

Apart from several trips to Corsica, my holidays in the 1980s were mainly spent in Greece and Italy. It wasn't until 1990 that my love affair with France really began and I have now stayed in more than 100 locations throughout the country. My first love is Provence where I was inspired to write my novel 'Thirty-five Minutes from St Tropez' which is a happy and positive contemporary story of family life spanning three generations. The main characters enjoy all the benefits of the South of France with more family members scheming to find a way to move there! It has romance, stories about dogs and a touch of travel writing when one or other of the characters visit Riviera towns and resorts. The sequel 'Stolen Summer' was published in September 2017 with more of the same except that things start to go wrong for the family!

I hope you enjoy my stories and that it will inspire you to visit the area and enjoy all that Provence has to offer.

 Amazon.UK link Stolen Summer

You're invited to spend summer on the French Riviera with Richard, Helen and the Ferguson family. The sequel to Thirty-five minutes from St Tropez is a blend of fear and fun, love and disappointments, country life and glamorous Monaco, Provence and Italy...

As the hot summer continues on the vineyard in Provence, big changes are afoot as Richard and Helen make plans for their son and daughter-in-law to take over managing their rental property. While Richard is in the UK, informing their somewhat difficult daughter of their plans, the first of several upsetting and frightening incidents takes place at their home. Rushing to help, Richard’s brother and his American wife, Cindy, drive to the vineyard from Monaco, and, while keeping Helen company, find the fabulous villa that will become their second home.

In Monaco, grand-daughter Danielle continues to have boyfriend troubles whilst love blossoms for her twin brother and a society heiress as he works on an Italian superyacht. Helen’s sister’s romance with Frenchman Alain continues to bring Joanna great happiness, despite the presence of Alain’s challenging daughter. An unexpected four-legged addition to their family brings great joy.

Family visits, a classic car rally and wedding plans take place against the constant threat of the intruder returning, increased security measures at the vineyard, and the appointment of a private detective. As summer draws to a close, a terrifying event takes place at the vineyard that shakes the family to the core, and leaves Richard feeling heart-broken at his part in the attack.

By the time the grape harvest is in full swing, the family is worn down by the summer’s events but their spirits are lifted by a wedding and everyone spending time together once again, this time in Juan-les-Pins.

The follow-up to debut novel, Thirty-five minutes from St Tropez. Join the Fergusons once again for more sunshine, stunning scenery and family drama.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much, Rachel. The bonus for the French team, and me, is that France is still in with a chance!


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