Tasmina Perry – Why I set my new novel in the Deep South

Today I’m pleased to welcome Tasmina Perry to the blog. Tasmina is the author of 12 novels including The Last Kiss Goodbye, Private Lives. The Proposal and Perfect Strangers and her latest novel, The House on Sunset Lake is published by Headline on 25 August 2016.

Tasmina’s new book is set in Savannah Georgia. We talk to her to find out why she set her new novel in the sultry South.

Why did you decide to set a book in the Deep South?

When I was thinking about an idea for my new book, I didn’t start with a location. I knew I wanted to write about a house – a big old house that had fallen into ruin, so I had to decide where that big old house could be. I almost chose Cornwall as a setting as I know the area very well, but I have always been drawn to the Deep South and thought that a big old plantation house would be perfect as the star of the book.

What is it that appeals to you about that part of the world?

I’ve always been fascinated by the Deep South, which has come from all the books, films and TV shows I have seen over the years. I remember watching Gone with the Wind when I was quite young and thinking it was wonderful – like a spiky fairy tale. I was also quite affected by the TV series Roots. I couldn’t believe that America – the land of Grease and Rydell High – had this dark underbelly. I generally love anything that has a Deep South setting – whether it’s Sweet Home Alabama, the Reese Witherspoon rom-com or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. That is such a brilliant book – the cover alone made me want to go to Savannah.

Have you been to the Deep South?

I’ve been to America many times but with the exception of Florida, never to the Southern belt.

It’s such a fascinating area; the history, the plantation houses, and the landscape from the swamps to the creeks and barrier islands. I always visit the places I write about as I think it just makes my writing more evocative and authentic. So I did a road trip from the east coast of Florida, starting off in Sarasota, through Georgia, and on to Savannah and Charleston. I loved all of it, particularly Savannah which felt both laid back and formal at the same time, and thanks to the architecture and horse-drawn carriages it has buckets of old-world charm. If you ever get to go I recommend Leopolds for delicious ice-cream, the Lucas Theatre for their retro movie nights and the Marshall Hotel which is pure Gone with the Wind and gives out free peach iced tea in the foyer.

Where else would you like to set a book?

I’m on my twelfth book now so I’ve written about a lot of places, but the world is so big and exotic and varied! As we speak I’m in France on a research trip. I’ve got two ideas brewing – one set on the Riviera, another in a Chateau in the Loire. If anyone has a preference about either location drop me line!

About the book:

thumbnail_Sunset%20Lake%20HB

“‘Seductive and mysterious…the perfect novel to while away a summer’s afternoon’ Express. Sunday Times bestseller Tasmina Perry is back with a delicious summer read. Unlock the secrets of the mysterious house on Sunset Lake…

Casa D’Or, the mysterious plantation house on Sunset Lake, has been in the Wyatt family for over fifty years. Jennifer Wyatt returns there from university full of hope, as summer by the lake stretches ahead of her. Yet by the time it is over her heart will be broken, her family in tatters, her dreams long gone.

Twenty years later, Casa D’Or stands neglected, a victim of tragic events. Jennifer has closed the door on her past. Then Jim, the man she met and fell in love with that magical summer, comes back into her life, with a plan to return Casa D’Or to its former glory. Their reunion will stir up old ghosts for both of them, and reveal the dark secrets the house still holds close…”

 

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