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Diane Whiteside | Once Upon A Time in A Place Far, Far Away

Historical authors always write about someplace that can’t be seen or felt by their reader. For KISSES LIKE A DEVIL (just published in February 2009 by Brava), I always knew Brian, William and Viola Donovan’s second son, would find his true love in  turn-of the-century Europe. But I wanted it to happen in a fictional country, not someplace well-known where I’d have to walk the straight and narrow path of rigid locations and dates set down in an almanac. No, I wanted the fun of making up a country’s map and history all on my own, just like I would for a fantasy. Yes!

I decided to call it Eisengau, or “Iron Mountain” in German. Quite suitable for someplace that made topnotch guns and cannons, then sold them to the rest of the world at big time prices.

What did my mythical little country need to have? Mountains for a start, to keep it walled off from the rest of the world and even more legendary. Heck, maybe I could work them into the plot, too, just to make them do double-duty.

What else? Well, it needed to look European, right? What part of Europe, though – Russia, all onion domes and carved wooden roofs and houses? Prussia – known for stolidity but which also produced the first “modern” architecture”? (Maybe not in a historical romance.) Someplace more well-known like London or Paris? But could I plunk down either town in the middle of Europe and call the place fictional? Probably not but maybe I could swipe a building or two from there, just like I could from Berlin or America (which boasts all those wonderful European immigrants).

Where else? Well, my uncle who’s seen most of the world grabs every possible chance to go back to Prague. My favorite bookseller turns misty-eyed at its mention. It could work.

Of course, the capital of a mythical country ought to have some special spots within it, right? Maybe a good hotel for spies to pass notes to each other at or a country palace to hold corrupt parties at? Hmm…

The plot would need to use them all, too. What fun!

What places do you dream about returning to? Have you ever wanted to see something different happen in those places of your dreams?


Leave a comment below...and you'll be entered into our Fresh Fiction contest to win a signed books from ConDFW including books by Jim Butcher!




8 comments posted.

Re: Diane Whiteside | Once Upon A Time in A Place Far, Far Away

My boyfriend took me this past Summer to his favorite place in the world - The Grand Tetons - and now I'm dying to go back! If I'd want anything to be different, it would be to find a way to not have to put down the large animals that get to comfortable around the people that are invading their space.
(Kelli Jo Calvert 10:33am February 26, 2009)

My favorite place to go is always Old Town San Diego. There is so much culture and history there. Beautiful buildings! Friendly people! Lovely weather! It's like stepping into another country while still being in the United States.
(LuAnn Morgan 11:41am February 26, 2009)

Beautiful Hawaii! We were stationed there while in the military. Beautiful beaches, rain forests, the ocean was gorgeous! Spent a lot of time on the beaches. Very restful and peaceful!!
(JoAnn White 12:32pm February 26, 2009)

I have always dreamed of going to Scotland and Ireland. I have never been but would love to go. I only get to travel there in my books. So you see I travel all the time and I love going back in time.
(Gail Hurt 3:24pm February 26, 2009)

Ireland and England even though I've never been to either place. Ireland because it is land of my ancestors and England because the man who truly was the love of my life was from there and I'd love to see that country.
(Kay Martinez 7:41pm February 26, 2009)

I really, really want to go to Ireland and
Scotland - home of my ancestors. My
husbands ancestors came from
England, so we'd stop there. A far
away place I'd like to return to is Bali.
It is truly a place out of time (of course
I was there 38 years ago.). More
recently, we were in Wyoming and
Montana. Would like to go back there
and see what we didn't have time to
visit. Some day - Chaco Canyon. Did
I mention I love to travel and want to
go everywhere and see everything.
Just need to find a spare million or so.
(Patricia Barraclough 9:09pm February 26, 2009)

(Karen Haas 9:00am February 27, 2009)

I'd love to re-visit some of the really old places I've been but with my children this time. Places that man made but before technology. I was amazed at how you can feel the past in the air. In Rothenburg, I can remember looking over my shoulder and feeling as if someone was there while walking the wall. The catacombs in Luxembourgh were amazing. The steps were so tiny. Some of the castle ruins left you wondering just what it looked like? How was it destroyed?

My dreams don't take place in real places. I prefer entirely made up worlds or made up locations. Reality has a harder time intruding.
(Lynda Smith 12:27pm February 28, 2009)

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