Researching in Liguria

Researching in Portofino

My next book, The Forever Garden is finished and awaiting publication – hurrah. So, what have I been up to? Well, planning and researching the next one, of course…

The story doesn’t have a name yet, and it exists only in my head and in a working synopsis, but I know that it is to be set in West Dorset and Liguria, so it was to Liguria on the Italian Riviera that we headed for my research trip a few weeks ago.

We flew to Pisa and then travelled by train to Rapallo, a good base for visiting a few places that will feature in the book, including a small village called Zoagli and the magical Portofino. You can see me with my notebook (I filled two exercise books with scribbles during the trip) with just one of the amazing views behind me. My characters will be going to Portofino by boat, so that’s exactly what I did…

A House in Camogli

We then trained it to Camogli, a nearby village where one of my characters (Bruno) will live. I had a few days to find ‘his house’ – overlooking the harbour naturally – and to find a few spots that mean a lot to him, including the fascinating Maritime Museum.

After a break in Sestri Levante and the gorgeous Bay of Silence, we made our way by rail and bus to Lerici, where more of the action of the novel will take place, and took a bus from there to Tellaro in the romantic Bay of Poets.

I have loved Tellaro since I first laid eyes on the little hamlet and it was just as magical as the first time I saw it, with the impossibly beautiful pink and red houses, the dusky church, the glittering sapphire sea. Tellaro will be the setting for much of the story, and so I needed to find venues for various scenes, including the silversmith’s workshop and lodgings, Josephine’s caffé, the slipway where Nico first arrives in Tellaro and much more besides.

Street in Tellaro

Church in Tellaro

We took 500 photos. What with these and the notes… There must be a book in there somewhere – now all I have to do is write it 🙂





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