There’s one pleasure I’ve always prized above many others except, perhaps, reading—and that’s traveling. Ever since my first trip to Italy at age 7, I was hooked. Growing up on a small island (Malta), I always wanted to feel “connected” to mainland Europe. The little stretch of land I lived on sometimes got too small for my taste (still does), and I felt the urge to venture out beyond my shores.
I came from a family of humble origins but thankfully, we all loved to travel. So we saved, very wisely, and every two years we went somewhere. Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Austria, Turkey, Holland, England—I lived for those alternate summers that would see us hop on a plane to a new land for a week or two. Later in my adult life, after moving first to Holland and then to America, I discovered another mode of travel—road trips.
When I started writing, I realized that although nothing beats the real deal, I could travel just as much or more in my stories. In fact, I always make it a point to go somewhere special in my writing, or at least set the story somewhere unusual. Something to Live for is set in Malta, my native land. Everything to Lose goes from England to Italy.
And my latest release, An Eternity of Roses (The Valthreans: Book 1), took me on a delightful tour around the world!
I had such a blast with these characters who didn’t want to stay put, neither in place, nor in time . Here are some of the locations featured in the novel:
St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England.
This is where it all starts—in Belvoir Hall, the seat of the dashing Viscount Bournemouthe and future home of Lady Emmaline Elizabeth Deramore, the viscount Adrian’s one and only love. The Annual Christmas Ball at this sprawling mansion brings in the cream of the aristocratic crop, as well as a few undesirables for the two lovers . The estate is to be found close to where St. Albans stands today. St. Albans is now a lovely suburb north of London, and being just over 20 miles away, only a short train ride to the big city.
This is where Emma finds her first solid clues relating to Adam, what happened to him, and his whereabouts.
A port town in Scotland that features a very captivating encounter between Emma and Adrian.
Bromyard, Herefordshire, England.
In the 1940’s, this place in the British West Midlands swarmed with American military and medical personnel (the 42d Field Hospital), who settled here temporarily on their way from Texas, via Scotland, to mainland Europe to give aid and treat injured soldiers in the WWII conflict. Emma plays a pivotal role in this setting.
A very important location that features heavily in all World War II literature as so many American and ally soldiers gave their lives on this soil. Such is brought into relief briefly in the novel.
For a short time, it becomes a second home to my main character, Emma Deramore. After meeting the enigmatic and handsome Max, with whom she forms a bond, Emma remains close to him as he promises to help her. She also starts to become more involved in Valthrean politics around this time. And in this setting, I also explore the amazing Villa d’Este with its fantastic gardens in Tivoli. In the vastness of these picturesque grounds, Emma stumbles upon a sexy scene and comes to a certain realization .
A place Emma visits for business purposes as a private procurer of antiques and interesting items.
The ancient legend of the Valthreans finds its roots in India, back in the days when Buddhism was not yet introduced to the region and the inhabitants still believed in multiple deities and rulers controlling their destiny—such as the Snake King of legend and the River Demon of the Jhelum River. These Indian myths and legends form the basis of the Valthrean story.
A small village in the mountains where Adrian literally drives into a catastrophe.
Marina di Ragusa, Sicily.
A seaside town on the Mediterranean’s largest island. It thrives with the presence of fun and sun seekers in the summer months. The town boasts a beautiful promenade and beach, as well as some exclusive homes and villas. Emma experiences something very strange and disturbing as she walks the promenade here. Something very important in the context of the novel.
Mont Saint-Michel, France.
An impressive medieval abbey fortress located off the coast of France, also in Normandy. When the tide is high, it becomes an island, surrounded by water and cut off from the mainland. It is simply magnificent and a perfect setting or prop for a story with gothic flair.
And this is where it all comes full circle—in good ol’ London, UK. Here the story comes to closure for the star-crossed lovers, not too far from where it all started. Only fitting, right?
In 450 pages, with the cost of a book, you can travel to all this places. How about that? Makes me happy!
So I'd like to know…
Do you like to travel in the pages of a book? And would where a story is set determine whether you buy that book or not?
AN ETERNITY OF ROSES (THE VALTHREANS: BOOK 1) IS OUT NOW!
All the best and let me take this opportunity to wish you an AMAZING 2013!
About An Eternity of Roses:
“…‘Til the end of my life, I shall belong to you as your husband.”
That was the promise Adrian made to Emmaline.
And then, he was gone forever…
Two lovers separated by an evil curse…
It is 1807. Adrian Segrave, Viscount Bournemouthe, and Lady Emmaline Deramore are about to wed and British Society teems with excitement at this imminent love match. But Madeline de Brandeville, a mysterious Frenchwoman, has her lustful and ambitious sights on the groom. When she sets her cruel plan in motion, she leaves devastation in her path.
A quest through time…
Heartbroken, Emmaline embarks on an adventure she’d never imagined having. As the world changes and chaos brews, her fate becomes linked with the Valthreans, a group of immortals who must learn to face a deadly enemy that threatens their place in the human world. But all the while, there is one thing she wants more than any other — to get back her man.
When she finally finds her prize, he does not have a single memory of her, and her worst nightmares are far from over. Is this love meant to be, after all? Disclaimer: Do not read this novel if you dislike drop dead sexy heroes, strong heroines, intriguing immortals, magic, spells, mystery, amazing adventures, exotic settings, secret cults, and sensual love scenes.
———*********——— About Natalie:
Natalie G. Owens got her first taste of serious writing by penning award-winning poetry, short stories, and articles for college and local publications. She sold her first book to a small publisher in 2007 and is currently indie published. Her favorite stories to write are romances with a dark edge featuring brooding heroes, strong heroines, and a good dash of fantasy.
Natalie loves to meet and communicate with other authors and readers. Find her here: