07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Scottish Romance Author Susan Buchanan

What's More Romantic Than a Trip Abroad?

By Susan Buchanan
It’s fitting that this is international writers month on the blog, as although I’m  Scottish and my

Susan Buchanan
books are set in Scotland,  each has an international flavour.  I’ve decided, belatedly, that this will be a trademark of my writing. I am lucky as I have travelled extensively over the years,  so I have plenty of real life experience to draw from on the travel front.

I’ve always found it stimulating when reading a book, or watching a movie and discover that I’ve been to the location. It makes the book/movie resonate more with me, whether it’s set in San Francisco, Tokyo or in the Highlands of Scotland. That’s one of the main reasons I include travel and foreign climes in my novels, plus, it adds to the excitement - everyone loves a bit of escapism! And if you haven’t visited the places, I’m told that my novels actually have convinced  people they must visit Tuscany or Barcelona. Apart from that, there’s something mysterious about a romance abroad.

I loved writing the Italian scenes in Sign of the Times.  I’d spent some time in Tuscany the summer prior to writing the novel and had no idea at that point that Bibbiena would feature in my first novel. But, after visiting the town, it would have been a crime not to. Much of the anecdotal detail actually comes from that villa holiday, including when Holly mistakenly orders 800g of salami instead of 8 slices - not much difference!
 The panoramas described are those I could see from the villa overlooking the Tuscan countryside and the description of the villa owner was based on a B&B I stayed at on the Amalfi Coast, not Tuscany.

And if I were single, I would love to meet Dario and have him show me his vineyard and discuss those  Italian books I had studied at university, which Holly found in the library of his stately home.

When Lucy, Holly’s man-eating sister goes to Lucerne in Switzerland, again I took the description and even the hotel from a business trip I’d been on a few years ago, but can I just clarify, I didn’t get up to any of the shenanigans that Lucy did! When she goes ski-ing and meets Robbie, although I set the scene in Switzerland, I was remembering my one and only ski trip to Austria and modifying some of the details - I really did do that midnight toboggan run - complete with schnapps for Dutch courage, but again, in my case, there was no romantic involvement - but oh the sexual tension in Lucy’s case! Nothing like a bit of après-ski!

The Dating Game continued the travel theme. I wanted to have the 4 girlfriends having a minibreak in a European city. Since I used to live in Barcelona, it was a no-brainer to set it there. I’ve also been back several times in recent years for various festivals and those feature heavily in the novel.  And sometimes, as in Gill’s case, romance comes along when you’re least expecting it. From the Sagrada Familia, the fabulous beaches, the Catalan cuisine, the plazas, the shopping, Gaudí, the festivals - Barcelona has it all and I for one wanted to capture that.

I hope that the inclusion of Hong Kong, my favourite Asian location,  in my new novel, What If, to be launched later this year, meets with as much approval from readers as the others. Now I wonder where I can set my fourth book...

Learn more about Susan at


Miss Viola said...

What fun to be able to include your tidbits and information from your travels in your books. I'll have to "head over" to Amazon and check them out. Enjoyed your blog. ~Viola

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for contributing to our Romance Around The World theme, Susan. I love reading stories set in other places and if they are done well (meaning they are accurate), it adds to my enjoyment if I've also been there.

I've never been to Hong Kong but have always wanted to go. "What If" looks to be a novel to take me there...at least in my imagination!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Susan,
Lovely to hear about your travels. I love reading about stories in foreign countries, it always gives them an exotic feel.



Paty Jager said...

Oh, I wish I had the chance to travel. I could use it with the books I've been writing. I enjoy reading books set in other countries because ti is like a mini vacation. The books sound like a lot of fun!

Susan Buchanan said...

thanks everyone for your comments. Lovely to be able to share with you.

deanne wilsted said...

I can't even claim mommy brain for being so late to this party;>) Or, at least, I don't think it counts when the child is 8 years old.

Susan... so great to have you on RTG. I loved reading your post, and especially getting to know your other books. Having read Sign of the Times I know I have a lot to look forward to in As If... (great name btw).

I hope mommyhood is treating you well. All my best to you and keep writing, even through the tough early days.