Friday with Friends: Writing Inspired by Travels – Lynne Shelby

Strolling along the banks of the Seine on a summer evening, I knew that this scene – the river almost too bright to look at, the lengthening shadows, the young couples sitting on the stone quay, their legs dangling over the water, the murmur of French conversation, the Eiffel Tower a silhouette on the Paris skyline – was one I wanted to capture in my writing.

Of course, these days it’s possible to research a location on-line, but I love travelling, and if I can, I like to visit the place I’m writing about to absorb the atmosphere – the scents and sounds that you can’t get from a video on the internet. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Paris, one of my favourite cities several times, but when I was writing the Paris chapters of my debut novel, French Kissing, I knew I had to visit it again. In the book, Anna, who is English, accompanies Alexandre, who is French, to Paris so that he can show her the city he adores, and I wanted to see the city through her eyes, and to make certain that their route through the city, could be followed by anyone exploring Paris for the first time – not that I need an excuse to visit Paris!

It was some years since I’d last visited the city, and as I walked the same route as my characters, I realised I’d forgotten the color of the bouquinistes on the Left Bank (dark green), how loud is the roar of the traffic as it circles the Place de la Concorde, and also how beautiful the Eiffel Tower looks when it glitters at night – all things that ended up in the book. And it was only when I was climbing up the steep winding streets of Montmartre, looking at all the typically Parisian apartments, with their French windows and iron balconies, that I knew this was where Alexandre lived.

It was a trip abroad that inspired the location of my current WIP. When I travelled from London to Athens and then on to Santorini, Crete and Kefalonia – my first visit to Greece – I knew I simply had to write a novel set in this beautiful country. I took lots of photos, wrote brief descriptions of white sugar-cube houses and silvery-leaved olive groves in my writer’s notebook, and also made quick pencil sketches – I find that drawing a scene means that I notice all sorts of details that hopefully will give my story a real sense of place when I’m back home in England, writing on my laptop.

Looking now at the sketches I did of the places I visited in Greece – beaches with black volcanic sand, glorious views from a hill top in Athens, fascinating ruins of ancient Greek temples – I can feel again the fierce heat of the Mediterranean sun, and the hear the chirping of cicadas, and this all helps me to recreate the scene in my writing.

Not everything I see on my travels makes it into my stories, but it’s all there in the back of mind, inspiring me as I write.

It was wonderful having you share your inspiration, Lynne! I can certainly understand how these locations were so inspiring. Here’s hoping for many more travels once things have settled. Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

To see Lynne’s interview previously posted, go here:

Meet the Author: There She Goes by Lynne Shelby


Lynne Shelby writes contemporary romance/women’s fiction. When not writing or reading, she can usually be found in the audience at a theatre or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Reykjavik, Athens – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband and has three adult children who live nearby.

Her novels are available from and

Connect with Lynne:


Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter



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Meet the Author: There She Goes by Lynne Shelby

Today we welcome Lynne Shelby as we travel to London, England and discover how a garden, Jane Austen, a wolf, and the Trojan War act together to create the show of Lynne’s life as a writer. Grab the popcorn and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Lynne Shelby and I write contemporary women’s fiction/romance. I was first published when my novel French Kissing won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition. I’ve done a variety of jobs from stable-girl to legal administrator, but now I’m lucky enough to write full time, which I think is the best job ever!

I enjoy traveling, especially exploring a foreign city with my writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand – among my favourites are Paris, New York, Rome, Venice, and Seattle. I live in London, England, with my husband, and I have three adult children who live nearby.

How many published books do you have?

I have three published books: French Kissing, The One That I Want and There She Goes (published 6 June 2019).

The One That I Want and There She Goes are both part of my Theatreland series of stand-alone novels set in the world of film and theatre. The books can be read in any order.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer! I still remember the thrill of seeing a story I’d written in my school magazine when I was nine. When I was fourteen I submitted a manuscript (an adventure story about four teenagers discovering a mysterious island) to a publisher. They didn’t publish it, but a kind editor wrote me a lovely letter encouraging me to keep writing – I’m so glad I took her advice!

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

That would have to be a wolf. I find these beautiful and intelligent creatures fascinating, and have been lucky enough to visit a wolf sanctuary several times. I love the fact that they live in family groups and work together as a team. Hearing a whole pack howling at twilight was an experience I’ll never forget.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My ideal writing space is my writing room – also known by my family as the spare bedroom (It does have a bed in it, but this is disguised as a sofa with lots of cushions!). My writing desk is by a window which overlooks my garden, so that even although I live in a town, I have a view of trees and flowers. The walls are lined with bookshelves containing my favourite novels.

What are you currently reading?

At the moment I’m reading a book about the Trojan War. My current WIP has an archaeologist hero who is an expert in the ancient Greeks, and I’m doing a lot of research into that era of history. Most of my research won’t make it into my book, but it’ll help me get to know my character.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

When I’m not writing or marketing my books, I can usually be found reading – especially women’s contemporary fiction – or in the audience at the theatre. My favourite night out is to watch a show, either a play or a musical, and I visit London’s West End as often as I can.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’d love to chat to Jane Austen over a cup of tea. I’d ask her which of all the actors who have played Mr. Darcy would be her choice to play her hero.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I remember believing in magic as a kid – I miss that!

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

If I could turn into one of my characters for a day, it would be Julie Farrell from my latest novel, There She Goes. Julie is an exceptionally talented singer and dancer, while I can’t sing in tune and have two left feet! I’d use my day as a good singer to enter an open mic singing competition.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

It’s hard to choose one favourite place to visit in England, but I’d recommend anyone who is interested in history to visit Hadrian’s Wall. A couple of years ago, my husband and I drove the length of the Wall, stopping off at the ruins of the various forts along the way. Standing on the remains of the Wall and gazing north, it was very easy to imagine what it would have been like for a Roman soldier stationed there nearly two thousand years ago.

Thank you Lynne for being a part of Meeting the Authors. I had a wonderful time learning about the acts that come together to create your writer’s life. Very interesting and inspiring! –Camilla

Lynne’s most recent book is There She Goes

Book Blurb:

When aspiring actress Julie Farrell meets actor Zac Diaz, she is instantly attracted to him, but he shows no interest in her. Julie, who has yet to land her first professional acting role, can’t help wishing that her life was more like a musical, and that she could meet a handsome man who’d sweep her into his arms and tap-dance her along the street…

After early success on the stage, Zac has spent the last three years in Hollywood, but has failed to forge a film career. Now back in London, he is determined to re-establish himself as a theatre actor. Focused solely on his work, he has no time for distractions, and certainly no intention of getting entangled in a committed relationship…

Auditioning for a new West End show, Julie and Zac act out a love scene, but will they ever share more than a stage kiss?

Find out more about Lynne Shelby and her books:

UK Kindle:

US Kindle:

UK Amazon:

US Amazon:

Website and Blog:


Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

There She Goes Book Trailer:

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