As I write this, I am sitting in our motorhome, affectionately known as Gertie, on the edge of a tiny hilltop village called Sainte Agnes in the Alpes-Maritimes area of south-eastern France. It’s a pretty good spot in which to write.
|Writing in the van|
I’m spending about ten weeks travelling with my husband, and we’re spending most of it exploring this corner of France. We adore mountains, and love walking and cycling so this is a perfect area for us. A typical day will involve a short drive to the next idyllic spot, park up somewhere – either a campsite, an ‘aire’ or just a suitable car park that has no restrictions against motorhomes. Then we’ll go off and explore, or go for a cycle ride. By mid-afternoon we’ll return to Gertie and that’s when I’ll get a couple of hours in which to write. This isn’t a holiday from writing – I would hate to have so long away from my novels, and anyway, there are deadlines I need to hit!
My husband will cook dinner, and afterwards we’ll play cards, drink wine, sit outside if the weather’s warm enough (though it’s been chilly up in the mountains!), read books or watch an episode of Breaking Bad (we brought the entire box set of DVDs with us).
A couple of years ago we spent six months travelling around Europe in Gertie, so we are well used to this kind of lifestyle. The great thing about writing is that you can do it anywhere, so why not do it on the move? I love travelling, exploring new places, contemplating new vistas, and life in a motorhome allows me to keep up with my writing at the same time as travelling. The perfect combination.
|Gertie admiring the view|
My work-in-progress is set in France, and while I could have chosen almost any part of rural France as the setting, I thought I might as well pick an area we love and that we wanted to explore. Hence the Alpes-Maritimes. So while we’re out and about cycling or walking or wandering around exquisite medieval villages, I keep my writer’s head firmly attached and soak it all up, so that I can use it all when writing later on. I find it really helps for inspiration – not just for the current novel but also to spark ideas for future novels.
|Sitting outside to write at a campsite|
Sometimes I’ll sit outside to write, but if it’s too bright or cold I’ll need to sit inside the van, with my feet up, laptop on lap and a cup of tea to hand. Or maybe a glass of wine. Just like writing at home, except that beyond the window is a view to die for.