It’s finally the weekend. Julie Caplin joins me today with the blog tour for her novel, The Secret Cove in Croatia.
Sail away to beautiful Croatia for summer sun, sparkling turquoise seas and a holiday romance that’s forever…
When no-nonsense, down-to-earth Maddie Wilcox is offered the chance to work on a luxury yacht for the summer, she can’t say no. Yes she’ll be waiting on the posh guests… But island-hopping around the Adriatic sea will more than make up for it – especially when Nick, her best friend Nina’s brother, is one of them.
Sparks fly when they meet on board and Maddie can’t believe self-entitled jerk Nick is really related to Nina.
But in a secret, picture-perfect cove, away from the real world, Maddie and Nick discover they might have more in common than they realise…
Talking about the value of research, it’s over to you, Julie…
As I set my Romantic Escapes series in interesting, overseas locations, I’m often asked how I research my books.
These days with the internet at the tips of our fingers, it is so easy for authors to do their research from the comfort of their own homes and it is amazing what you can find out without ever having to leave home. However, as a writer, I’ve found that nothing quite beats proper first hand research thanks to those interesting little facts and insights that you pick up when you actually visit a place.
I’ve been to Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and Germany many times and I feel I have a reasonable understanding of the cultures of those countries, however when it came to writing my first book in the Romantic Escape series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, I had never been to Scandinavia let alone Denmark, so it felt really important that I visited Copenhagen to get a feel for the country and it’s people.
And it was exactly the right decision, I felt much more confident to write about the city once I’d been there.
With book five in the series, I decided to set the story in the beautiful country of Croatia. This was inspired by my lovely work colleague, Gordana, who grew up in Croatia. In our quieter moments (not many in a school office admittedly) she would show us the most wonderful pictures of the islands, the sea and the beautiful little towns. When my editor gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to Croatia as the next setting, I immediately knew that I needed a research trip to Croatia and specifically the Dalmatian Islands.
Before visiting anywhere on a research trip, and it really is work and not a holiday, I do a lot of desk research, not just on the places I’m planning to visit but also on the psyche of the people. In this case I was able to talk at length several times with Gordana who told me lots of stories about her friends and family on the island of Brač. She also sent me a fifteen page email with details of key landmark sites, where to find olive oil being made, historical information about the towns, what to eat, the best beaches to visit, ferry times, bus timetables and interesting places to check out.
Armed with Gordana’s extensive notes, this was probably the best prepared I’ve ever been before a research trip, I headed to Split, the gateway to the Dalmatian Islands. From the busy ferry port, with ferries which cost only a few pounds, you have a huge range of stunning islands to visit, accessible in just a few hours. With limited time, I visited a couple of islands, Brač and Hvar which gave me a real feel for the countryside and the towns. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the crystal clear sea and the amazing colour of the water around the islands. It was one of the best research trips I’ve undertaken and I completely fell in love with Bol, Hvar town and Stari Grad which all made it into the final story.
Of course when it comes to writing the book, the real trick is working out what to include and what to leave out. You don’t want the novel to sound like a travel guide, but at the same time you want your writing to stir memories in those people who have been there and for those that haven’t you want to pique their interest and make them want to visit.
Getting this balance right can be quite tricky, however there’s nothing better than getting a review from a reader who says they’ve been inspired by one of my books to take a trip to one of my story locations.
Hopefully The Secret Cove in Croatia is going to inspire people to visit this beautiful country.
Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands, taking journalists on press trips to awful places like Turin, Milan, Geneva, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and occasionally losing the odd member of the press in an airport.
This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to eat amazing food, drink free alcohol, hone her writing skills on press releases and to research European cities for her books.
She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for HarperImpulse.
Under her pen name, Julie Caplin, her twelfth novel, The Secret Cove in Croatia published in e-book format this July.