Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Scotland as a Modern Heat location (and a random fact)

Following Lucy King's trailblazing lead to make Scotland cool enough for a Modern Heat setting :-) and the discussion on Jackie Ashenden's blog about locations I've been thinking about an old  story idea set in the Scottish Highlands that I set aside for not being 'Modern Heat enough'.

Despite its isolation the Highlands does have more than its fair share of roving millionaire alphas. Skibo Castle down the road from me is a private club so exclusive that you have to be famous or a member of the jet set to have a hope of setting foot inside (Madonna married there and Sean Connery, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones have all been guests). Owning a Scottish Estate now seems to be as much a 'must have' as a private jet or a yacht.
MFI heir, Paul Lister (aka The Real Monarch of the Glen), owns an estate close to my home and has been attempting to bring wolves and bears back into the Scottish countryside. Thankfully there has been much opposition from my crofter neighbours (who surprisingly don't want their sheep eaten) and he hasn't succeeded so far but the battle gave me an idea for a story about an estate owning millionaire (hero) clashing with a local female journalist (heroine).
Unfortunately that particular story is so laden with external conflict that it will never see the light of day but I'm thinking I may now be able to use the Highlands one day (even if I do a story that shares a London/Scotland location to hedge my bets!).

Here's a random fact I read this morning - if you were to attempt to read every book Mills and Boon had published in the last ten years (at a rate of two per hour), it would take you a quarter of a million years! This seems a tad incredible but the figure supposedly comes from a York University seminar and is mentioned in an article about reading romance fiction in public Underground Politics: Reading on the Tube (surprisingly sympathetic from a non-fan)
I wonder if she means every printed copy, or is including every translated copy...


Jackie Ashenden said...

A quarter of a million years?? That's a LOT of reading!

Your setting idea could definitely be a Presents/Modern story. Not sure about MH. But hey, you could end up being a trailblazer like Lucy! Now, if only I could somehow work Huntly into my story... ;-)

Lucy King said...

Yikes, so not a trailblazer! That's almost as bad as being 'brave' when it comes to plots.

Did you know Huntly NZ is named after Huntly Scotland? I googled it - how sad is that???

I saw that article too - I liked the author's point about how the people who pour scorn on MB often don't have such a problem with celeb gossip.

Lorraine said...

Jackie - yes I thought it was more of a 'modern' but I really prefer the feel of MH so I'll leave the idea in a drawer for the moment.

Lucy - sorry if we've embarrassed you :-) I know what you mean about the 'brave' comment you got from Heidi Rice but I thought it was a fantastic comment - basically you can pull off stuff that would leave other people floundering (even if you didn't intend to do anything different!)
How interesting re. Huntly - we stayed near there when we were house hunting so I know it quite well.

Joanne Cleary said...

I love the idea of different settings for Modern Heat. I don't see why Scotland can't be a setting. The castles themselves, like you said Lorraine, must house some pure alpha males.

I would think most settings can be Modern Heat with the right characters and the right ... well ... heat!!

Rachael Johns said...

Lorraine - I LOVE the sounds of this exclusive club! I'm sure you could make it a setting :)

Suzanne said...

I'm reeling from the fact that they expect us to read these books at a rate two per hour. I like to savour each story (and I subvocalise, which also slows me down, but am hoping to grow out of that habit) so speedreading really isn't an option.

Agree with Joanne about the castles...


Romy said...

Off-topic, but I read your comment on Joanne's blog. For a word counter on your blog go to http://www.zokutou.co.uk/wordmeter/ and type in your word count. They give you an html code to cut and paste into your blog as an additional feature. I'm sure there are others, but this is the one I've tried.

Lorraine said...

Thanks for all the comments guys. I think any castles may have to be slipped in as a secondary setting. At this stage I want to stick to the guidelines like glue :-)

I think 2 an hour is ridiculous Suzanne - that would be speed reading surely?

Thanks Romy - I'll see if I can get something up today. Not sure I want to be reminded of my slow progress though!