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Friday, November 1, 2013

Taking Tea with...Marianne Theresa

My Friday tea guest this week is world traveller, amazing artist, book cover designer and historical romance writer, Marianne Theresa.

Like me, Marianne is an inverate traveller and as an artist, her inspiration both in her paintings and her writing is visual so without further ado, sit back with your favourite cup of tea and enjoy Marianne's post on:

Favourite Places that Inspire me to Write.

Thank you Ms Stuart for having me here.

While I'm a Historical Romance Writer at heart, all my stories do tend to gravitate to the, shall we say, decadent side of sensuality.

 Now I know Ms Stuart gets a tiny wee bit flustered with topics on the erotic side (AS...just a tad...) , so today I chose to talk about what inspired me to write Historical in the first place and share 5 Places (out of a possible 1000) that instantly get me through a blocked moment in writing, or create a continuing or fabulous new direction for my stories.

My first introduction to romance novels were my mum's Mills & Boons I found around the house. But it wasn't until I was able to purchase my own books that I stumbled across my very first full length Historical novel. It was called A Rose in Winter by Kathleen E Woodiwiss. I simply devoured that book. And my preferred choice of reading material in my late teens was set.
When I EVER feel the need to connect with the past for writing, I will always pick up a Historical Reference book or one of Kathleen's Novels. (AS...How can you go past that cover?)

Which brings me to what I wanted to share here.
Unlike the newer generation, I'm of the fraternity that didn't have the opportunity to travel overseas until years later down the track (AS...indeed, in "our" day it was finish school/uni and straight off to work...). And when I finally did it was to Europe and UK that hit the top spots for me. Why ... because that was the historical landscape that captured my imagination, inspired my creative mind and spoke to my heart.

Amazing Place #1   The Netherlands

Holland was the first Overseas place I visited, other than Hamilton Island - off the coast of Queensland. :)

My DH has relatives who live in Den Haag, so it was a natural choice to begin there. As it is not a place of my heritage I did not have an extensive knowledge of the Netherlands. I did know of several of her cities, Amsterdam, Delft & Den Haag, were home to the world's most famous Old Masters - Artists, at one or other in their career. 
I also knew about Delft Pottery and Windmills. That was about it.

But it is much more than that. Holland is a treasure trove of the past. It's history is entwined with nearby countries of Europe as well as UK. And through the Dutch East India Company many countries throughout Asia. We were fortunate to be staying right in the middle of the city of Den Haag. So we walked right intpo history each day. The Royal Palace is there. The Mauritius Art Museum, where you can find many of Rembrandt & Vermeer's famous artworks. Museum De Gevengenpoort  (The Prison Gate) is a former prison. Inside this Medieval Building is a fascinating collection of Punishment and torture devices that will certainly awaken any visitor to the history of criminal Law. Naturally, as a historical writer, I was thoroughly enthralled. 

(AS...I am writing a book at the moment that involves the VOC...the Dutch East India Company. Fascinating stuff! Did you know that they murdered the entire population of an island in Indonesia just to protect the precious nutmeg? They gave "ruthless" a whole new meaning!)

Amazing Place #2   Italy

Ahhh what can I say about Italy?

What can't I say about Italy ...  Rome, Venice, Florence, Pompeii, Assisi, Milan, Bologna and too many other exciting places to mention.

For me, walking the cobblestones of our forefathers is as inspiring for a historical writer as it gets. What's not hard to to stir the imagination or to reminisce about when you are sitting on a stone wall admiring the ruins of the Colosseum.
 Days spent wandering around the City of Rome, marvelling at the amazing monuments, thankfully still standing, is a moment forever implanted in my writers mind. In a world where wars have taken a toll on our most treasured icons, many now disappeared, this was one City that I truly hope endures for future generations.

When I think of the city of Rome, I think of Artwork and History on every corner.

 (AS:  The Via Appia stands out for me as the most interesting thing I did in Rome...but I need to spend so much more time in Rome!)

Amazing Place #3    England

What can I say about England, the place where my imagination bubbles with ideas & possibilities.

 Is it about London Town, Wales, Cornwall, Dover? Is it the castles, royalty, wars, power, the romantic age of the tall ships? I think it is all of the above and much more. Perhaps it's because as a Commonwealth nation learning about the motherland was mandatory in school.

As a Romance writer I am more interested in the nature of life lead by my characters in history. People say there is struggle in today's times, but it WAS a different struggle back then. To me I see it as a harder, more determined struggle to learn know and achieve more. Maybe that was because of the newness of humanity. Growing from not knowing or having much to learning, conquering new ways. Class distinctions interest me. Laws that determined how people, spouses neighbours were treated.  

Amazing Place #4    Scotland

Ahhhh, Bonny Scotland. 

There was nothing I did not or could not, love about this country. The rugged coastline, the beautiful Isles, the magnificent hillsides with their ancient stone walls that flowed across the hills and valleys, from one land-owners property to the next. We weren't lucky enough to see the heather out in bloom, but we did see the bare vine growing in the stark harsh environment, that would flourish and coat the hills in a gown of lavender. 

The city of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Castle is simply one place that need more time to soak up the long history. There is an ambience about the entire place that had my mind bubbling with story possibilities. I need to return there. And what Historical writer & reader would not be taken back to a time long forgotten when couples would defy father & King, race dangerously against family and time to cross the border into Scotland and marry at Gretna Green - all in the name of LOVE.... There are beautiful monuments in the car park now. 

Amazing Place #5    The Rocks in  Sydney-Australia

And last but not least, the beautiful Rocks area of Sydney. The first place where the Europeans of the First Fleet settled. Actually all of Sydney is a perfect place to reminisce about days of old. There are plenty of new - scattered among the old, you just have to spend the time searching and discovering.

I believe we have  the only, paying-passenger Tall Ship in the world, moored at Darling Harbour. The James Craig makes a day trip out through the heads, once or so a month. 

There are amazing Arts and Crafts on sale at The Rocks Markets. There's Museums and Walking Tours full of history, available to Aussies near & far, and tourists, throughout the year. There may not be as many old buildings as the European countries, but we have a unique country that has a tale of its own to tell  ...

You just have to go out there and  discover it. (AS...the Australian Tourism Bureau should employ you...)

Thanks so much for letting me share my inspirations with you and your guests Alison. Let's hope I might have inspired others to look around this glorious world for creative ideas - no matter what field they are in.  

Marianne's first book is a Contemporary 10k Erotic Romance set in Sydney - a stone's throw away from the Rocks.
Hidden Passions is published by Momentum Books 
You can contact Marianne here: Marianne Theresa & find me on Facebook 
Or visit the "Other me" @ maryde

Thanks so much for letting me share my inspirations with you and your guests Alison. Let's hope I might have inspired others to look around this glorious world for creative ideas - no matter what field they are in.  

AS:  It's been an absolute pleasure, Marianne and it has stirred my restless spirit.