Atmospheric Fiction in Historical Novels
Writing atmospheric fiction which is set in a time that some people can still remember is always going to be fraught with problems. But I knew right from the beginning that I wanted the setting for my Rufus Stone novels to be the Second World War. I wanted to give him and the characters surrounding him something to think about, other than their own lives, and the problems they were having to solve.
Having given myself that little conundrum, I decided I needed to stick to what I knew, and that’s how I reached the conclusion that I should set the stories in the area where I grew up. Obviously, I realised that some buildings would have changed, or even disappeared completely between the wartime era, and my own arrival on the scene in the early 1970s, but what I wanted to capture most was the feeling of living in a small village and use that to create atmospheric fiction.
So, I employed early memories, from getting lost in Hampton Court Palace maze, walks along the River Thames, and playing cricket on Giggs Hill Green, to vicarage tea parties and carol singing around the village in the falling snow in order to create the impression of an idyllic time gone by.
If you grew up in the Molesey/Thames Ditton area (or in any small village, for that matter) and have any memories you’d like to share, please feel free to contact me, or leave a comment below.