Why Join?

  • Add New Books

  • Write a Review

  • Backpack Reading Lists

  • Newsletter Updates

Join Now

Talking Location With … author Katy Moran – SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS

4th July 2024

Katy Moran#TalkingLocationWith…. Katy Moran, author of My Lady’s Secrets – SCOTTISH HIGLANDS

After writing an alternate-history Regency trilogy that whisks readers from Cornwall and the Russian steppes to a French chateau, I was drawn closer to home for my next book. My Lady’s Secrets is a wildly romantic historical novel ignited by a real-life scandalous political assassination in 1812. The heroine, Cressida, is a spy and disgraced debutante forced into one last mission – this time with Lord Byron and her annoyingly attractive estranged husband, Greville. The prize for my heroine is high stakes: her freedom, what’s left of her reputation, and her life. This wasn’t a book I could set in sleepy English country village. This trio demanded a dramatic setting.

I wrote the first draft in lockdown when I needed to entertain myself as much as I had to settle on a plot location. My Lady’s Secrets had to take place in the alien chaos and bustle of Regency Britain, but somewhere I could easily imagine. For decades, we’ve hitched a boat to a trailer and driven north to the Highlands of Scotland in the height of summer to stay with our friends. So when my characters fled high society Regency London, immersed in a deadly game of cat and mouse, they became guests of my heroine’s glamorous, ruthless cousin at her Scottish estate. Originally, My Lady’s Secrets was set in a corner of the Western Highlands so familiar I can see the shape of the tallest hills with my eyes closed.

Buy Now

 

Bitterly estranged but forced into close proximity, my hero and heroine discover that this grand, remote house harbours a lethal secret ready to blow their own deadly mission out of the water. At first, writing this was easy: Cressida and Greville climbed the same hills as me, marvelling at the same waterfalls, and Lord Byron swam in the same loch (I took a liberty here, sending him on a fictional trip to Scotland in the summer of 1812).

Katy Moran

Photo credit: Visit Scotland

Towards the end of the first draft, I ground to a halt. My Lady’s Secrets is my tenth book, and I’d never written about anywhere I was so familiar with before. My own world crept in. Writing somewhere I knew so well had been invaluable in the first draft but as the story developed it felt wrong. The villain My Lady’s Secrets is so calculating and self-serving that it seemed sacrilegious, letting them roam around a place I’ve spent so much time with the people I love most, even though the location was still quite heavily fictionalised. I stopped writing, stuck for a few days.

A walk is as good a cure for writers’ block as I know, so I took my dog up the hill. Looking out across the rolling green landscape of the Welsh borders, I understood why I write about places I’m drawn to but less familiar with: that element of the unknown allows the story space to grow. Cressida, Greville, Byron and their messy, complicated friends, relations and accomplices needed a place of their own. I shifted everyone to Loch Ifrinn, a wild sea-loch that exists in my imagined furthest north of Scotland. The moment I swapped the Western Highlands I knew for the white beaches, fog and moorland of this new, half-fictional place, my heroine and hero were free to take on their own identities, coming alive in a world all of their own.

Katy Moran

Buy Now

 

Catch Katy on Twitter X: @katyjamoran and IG: @katyjamoran

Join team TripFiction on Social Media:

Twitter (@TripFiction), Facebook (@TripFiction.Literarywanderlust), YouTube (TripFiction #Literarywanderlust), Instagram (@TripFiction) and Pinterest (@TripFiction) and BlueSky(tripfiction.bsky.social) and Threads (@tripfiction)

Subscribe to future blog posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *