I live down south, but last week I was lucky enough to make a trip to North Wales. While I was there I realised it offered a perfect opportunity for me to do some hands-on research.
Anglesey is one of the key settings in my forthcoming novel, Forgotten Children. I visited this small island many years ago and from that vague memory I had described it as best I could. But now I had the opportunity to spend a day there and to soak up the atmosphere and explore the very beaches where my protagonist walks her dog.
It was a wonderful, yet strange feeling, a mix of fiction and reality. At every turn I was expecting to see my characters, who have become so real to me. In Forgotten Children Emily rents a cottage for a while, Martha’s Cottage. As I walked around Red Wharf Bay I saw several cottages that could easily have been Emily’s retreat. The wide sweep of the Bay is the perfect place for dog walkers and I could just imagine Emily’s dog, Ralph, racing across the sand.
It was a grey day when I was there, but I could imagine it in all weathers. The grassy backdrop to the beach will soon be filled with spring colour as the March sunshine warms the land. We chatted to some locals who described the force of the recent storm, which swept across the village, creating some damage to trees, but also providing a reminder of the way that nature is in charge.
I’m so pleased I had the chance to spend a few hours there and I hope that my more recent experiences will help to more accurately inform my writing about this often forgotten outcrop.