Some authors set their books in a place that they love, have visited or have travelled to. Some even set books in places they would like to go, that has a story to tell of its own. Melissa Hill has chosen to set her book The Hotel on Mulberry Hill, in her home country of Ireland but in the fictional place of Mulberry Bay for a very nice reason indeed.
Melissa, it’s over to you…
My home town. The fictional Bay Hotel at the centre of the novel was inspired by my own feelings about a hotel in my hometown – a place wrapped in significant personal nostalgia that will always hold a place in my heart.
My family celebrated a host of personal celebrations there; christenings, confirmations, birthdays as well as my own wedding.
Taken by the idea that a particular place or building could have such emotional resonance, not just for one person but an entire community, I wanted to explore what would happen if such an important institution were to come under threat.
Community: The locals populating the small town of Mulberry Bay are just as important to the storyline as the main characters. The notion that community, and a great sense of shared history could be a real force for change against the odds is a powerful one, and perhaps relevant to small town life today, where family-run businesses and the heart of communities themselves are under threat from outside influences.
My father: Ned, the father in the novel has in the past sacrificed something of great importance to keep his family and the hotel afloat, and is reluctant to let go of their only remaining legacy.
This particular plot strand was again borne out of personal experience, as I discovered some time ago that when I was born, my own father – an avid Beatles fan – sold his much-prized record collection to buy me a pram.
(Booktrail – what a lovely man!)
Music: Following on from the above, music by the Beatles was the soundtrack to my childhood.
Summer afternoons spent playing in the garden with Here Comes the Sun in the background, birthday parties boogying to All You Need is Love; any Fab Four song or anthem I hear immediately summons a fond childhood memory, as it does for Penny in the story.
I love interior design, and the idea of vicariously renovating a ramshackle old hotel and turning it into a beautiful contemporary space, perfect for relaxation appealed to me enormously. I had great fun going through each room in the hotel and imagining things for the characters to do – and even more fun finding ways to thwart them!
Thanks Melissa for sharing inspiration with us today. And I tell you something if there is someone that needs inspiration for a Xmas something special that sparkles ….
A diamond from Tiffany and a literary one from Melissa Hill. What more could you ask for?