How setting became my muse

As a little girl, I dreamed of being a writer. I can remember being about twelve years old and sitting down to my family’s brand new computer with my best friend to write the world’s next masterpiece. She, however, wanted to write horror – I, on the other hand, was scared of my own shadow. But I indulged her. We wrote our way into the second chapter, saved our document, she went home, and that was the end of that.

But so began my problem. I knew I wanted to write, but I didn’t know what – I just knew it wasn’t going to be horror! The older I got, the more my dream of becoming a writer became just that – a dream. Sadly, it seemed unattainable. I felt I just didn’t have the imagination to write something that people would want to read. Zero confidence. Zilch.

I had always loved reading, but after becoming a mother, I devoured anything in the romance genre. Easy to read and entertaining for those times I just wanted to relax from the daily grind. I read a lot of amazing books and discovered some much-loved authors, but also came across some poorly written cringe-worthy titles as well. We all know they’re out there! But this got me thinking that maybe I could give this a shot. All I needed was an idea.

A little over two years ago, I visited a small town called Nannup in WA’s south west. And I fell in love. Everything about the town seemed idyllic to me. From the buildings, to the people, to the trees and the scenery. I thought it would make a wonderful setting for a romance novel. And, I swear, it was like a little cupid-esque writing fairy shot me with her arrow of inspiration. I suddenly knew that I would be the one to write a romance novel set in a town inspired by beautiful Nannup. The town had become my muse.

I have spent most of the last week holed away in my friend’s ‘getaway’, surrounded by trees and animals, frantically working on the second draft of my novel, A Place to Belong, which will hopefully become the first book in a series. Visiting the town again after recreating it in my head as the town of Blackwood, named for the river that runs through Nannup, was surreal. So many of the town’s locations have inspired scenes in the story and I thought I would share some of them so everyone can share in the beauty of Nannup.

The bowling green is in the centre of town directly across from the 113 year old Nannup Hotel. Both are beautiful locations in their own right, but together it makes for an interesting scene...

The bowling green is in the centre of town directly across from the 113 year old Nannup Hotel. Both are beautiful locations in their own right, but together it makes for an interesting scene in “A Place to Belong”…

The Nannup Hotel

The Nannup Hotel

The bowling green

The bowling green

The Nannup Bridge Cafe is a hidden gem inspiring Marge's Place in

The Nannup Bridge Cafe is a hidden gem inspiring Marge’s Place in “A Place to Belong”. I walked in half expecting to meet Marge!

This photo doesn't do justice to the back deck of the Nannup Bridge Cafe. It is the definition of serenity and the place where my characters first lay eyes on each other in

This photo doesn’t do justice to the back deck of the Nannup Bridge Cafe. It is the definition of serenity and inspired the place where my characters first lay eyes on each other in “A Place to Belong”.

It's safe to say there will be a wedding at some point in my Blackwood River series.

I LOVE this shot! It’s safe to say there will be a wedding at some point in my Blackwood River series!

If you’d like to see more photos of the beautiful town of Nannup, head to the photo album, Nannup, my muse on my Facebook Page. I’d love it if you could ‘like’ it while you’re there!

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9 thoughts on “How setting became my muse

  1. Lily Malone says:

    Hi Monique
    My family went to Pemberton and Nannup just last weekend. Your photos are lovely. It is a very sweet little town and it’s changed a lot from my memories. I found Pemberton felt like it hadn’t moved on at all and there were many shops closed/empty in Pemby. But Nannup & Bridgetown seem to have the tourism situation sorted and are powering ahead – but they retain their pretty buildings and relaxed feel. My question is – why not keep ‘Nannup’ as Nannup and write the ‘real’ town? Did you think about doing that? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • romancingmonique says:

      Hi Lily, thanks for your question! To be honest, I never really considered writing the real town. Visiting on a number of occasions has certainly inspired me to write, but I wanted the freedom to take a bit of creative license. I don’t want readers to get hung up on details that might not be true of the real town or by comparing characters to people who live there, though readers who know it is inspired by Nannup will recognise some of the locations in the book. I feel I’ve honoured the real place by instead naming my fictional town ‘Blackwood’ after the river.

      Like

    • romancingmonique says:

      Thanks Melinda! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the blog so far…it’s always hard to judge whether you’re writing about topics people want to read, so feedback is always much appreciated! I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the progress of the novel too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah says:

    Hi Monique! I am one of the owners of the Nannup Bridge Café, my partner Leon is the chef. I love that you have taken inspiration from our place and the town in general. It is very beautiful. Living in the town perhaps it is a little less than idyllic to me (!) but I can see how it could be viewed with new eyes. We have another regular customer who has been coming for over five years who is a published author. He recently sent me a short story he had published, drawing inspiration from our café and workers! I am an avid reader and so it was fantastic to read a fiction story inspired by ourselves. I loved it. So please make sure to send us any of your work so we can read it/put it out in the café for others to read.

    Like

    • romancingmonique says:

      Hi Sarah! I’m so glad you’ve taken a look at the blog post! Coincidentally, the owners of the cafe in my story are a husband and wife team too 🙂 The fact that two writers have taken inspiration from your beautiful cafe tells you that you have something special and very unique. The first time I visited Nannup it was spring and the main street was filled with colourful flowers (perhaps it was just after the Flower and Garden Festival) which is what drew my attention, but I understand things would be different living there. I’ll be sure to send you my work once it has been published. Thanks for reading!

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