When I decided to set The Wedding
Proposal
in Malta I knew that I was going to enjoy researching the
setting – Malta has a special place in my heart.
As part of an army family, I
lived in Malta when I was a child. When we left after our second tour of duty I
was eight-and-a-half and had lived in Malta for more than half of those years.
We referred to the UK as ‘home’ but I’d only lived there for a couple of years
and didn’t remember it much. But when my dad’s next posting took us to London I
discovered something.
I’d really thought of Malta as
home all along.
Sunshine, dust, honey-coloured
stone, palm trees, sea, snorkelling, scorpions, lizards, geckos, church bells,
freedom, ramparts, festas and horse-drawn taxis – they were what I knew and
loved. And now they were lost.
I suggested to my parents that
we return but the army had other ideas and so I’ve had to make do with (many)
holidays to Malta ever since. And setting a book on the island gave me an
excuse to shoehorn in an extra visit.
So, what was I likely to have
to research, given that I was a frequent visitor? A lot of detail.
Flat overlooking Ta’Biex Marina
I’d lived in a flat overlooking the Ta’ Biex yacht marina so
when I decided to put Elle and Lucas together
on a 42’ boat for the summer that was the obvious place to moor it. (Additional
research note: Elle and Lucas had been together four years earlier and didn’t
expect to have to share a small boat for the summer. The man who kindly showed
me around the real life twin of the Shady Lady said, ‘If they’re
not ‘together’ then sharing a boat this size is going to cause friction.’ He
was probably surprised when I laughed and rubbed my hands gleefully.) Knowing
the shape of the marina and the taste of the sea when you fall in, these things
weren’t enough. I had to find out where in the marina each of the boats in The Wedding Proposal would berth, and
how (stern-to, ie blunt end to the shore), how essential services were accessed
– one yacht owner told me when it was the time for the ‘black waste’ to be
emptied ‘You go far, far out to sea’. But there is actually an on-shore
disposal point!

Happily, most people don’t seem
to mind falling into conversation about their boats and my brother put me in
contact with one English person and one Maltese who’d moored at Ta’ Biex.

And when I needed to know a
depth at an exact spot, I asked a fisherman. He stuck his rod in the water,
pulled it out and pointed to the wet section. ‘That deep.’ We decided it was
two metres. Basic research never fails me …
And even when I feel I know my
subject well, I never fail it.
Sue Moorcroft writes romantic
novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. Is this Love?
was nominated for the Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award. Love & Freedom won the Best
Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was shortlisted
for a RoNA in 2013. Sue is a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, past vice chair
of the RNA and editor of its two anthologies.
Sue’s latest book The Wedding
Proposal
is available as an ebook from 4 August 2014 and as a paperback
from 8 September.
Twitter @suemoorcroft
Thank you, Sue. You make research sound like a lot of fun.
The RNA blog is brought to you by
Elaine Everest and Natalie Kleinman.
If you would like to write for this
blog please contact us on elaineeverest@aol.com

2 Comments
  1. Author
    Christina Courtenay 3 years ago

    That sounds like great research – much better than the kind I do, ie trawling through musty old tomes about history. Maybe I need to change genres? 🙂

  2. Author
    Sue Moorcroft 3 years ago

    Christina, research can be fun for my genre. I think my next book will feature a toy boy and a face lift … 🙂 x

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