Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

An Island Castle, An Italian Harbour... Oh, Yes, That's Really Roughing It


This place turned up in the travel section of one of the newspapers I read during the holidays. I was, of course, intrigued and fascinated. It's a beautiful spot, after all. The location is Ischia, a volcanic island paradise near Naples. The castle above on the small island (with a causeway) is Castello Aragonese, which first has its roots in the fifth century BC. Today it's become a destination for tourists and religious pilgrims alike.



The island itself is quite mountainous, and makes its living from tourism, who come for the thermal hot springs, the beaches, the history, and the scenery. The volcano itself hasn't erupted for the last seven hundred years (cross your fingers, in geological time, that's a millisecond). It struck me as an astonishingly beautiful spot. Just the sort of place one could write into a novel.


In Heaven & Hell, location has often come across as a character in and of itself. I've paid close attention to- and made use of- the places my characters have passed through. The history and scenery of places throughout Israel- Jerusalem, the Masada, Tel Aviv, the Golan Heights- and beyond into Syria have been very much on my mind throughout the book. And in the final phase of the book, on the island of Andros in Greece, the topography of the island and the achingly beautiful location (I could spend months in the Aegean, just saying... and I'm not even Greek) have certainly been influences on me. And down the line, in future books like Sword of the Faith and A Cold Day In Hell, location will continue to have an influence on my writing, to the point where the land takes on a character of its own.


Ischia and particularly that castle fortress are certainly inspiring for a location. As a writer in the spy genre, I could see using it for a meeting between adversaries. Yet it lends itself well to so many other possibilities. The romance genre would practically salivate at such a location. And I imagine at night, the grounds of that island castle would be just the perfect place for a murder in a mystery novel. And just think... wouldn't it be the perfect setting for a ghost story?

What would you do if you had the chance to use this place in your own writing?








22 comments:

  1. You've given me ideas!

    I've always used exotic locations as the canvases on which I paint my characters' stories, and I have a series to write that could definitely use such a beautiful locale....

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  2. At least part of A Cold Day In Hell will be set in Italy... I think I'll make use of this place when the time comes.

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  3. Once upon a time there was a modern day Raphunzel who never left her island castle until it was over-run with pirates who kidnapped her and took her on a long voyage where they all ended up capsized and shipwrecked near Capetown South Africa. There are no survivors except the young Italian woman with golden hair who is found floating on some wreckage. A yacht with a handsome Prince takes her aboard and returns her to her island castle where they live happily ever after. Any other questions? LOL

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  4. I'd choose to write something dark as it contrasts with the beauty of the place.

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  5. Oh, it's so beautiful! I love the essence of a castle, the fantasy part of it. Some castles are incredibly dark and not at all nice, but this one is gorgeous. I love anything "old world" and it is definitely a beaut! Hopefully none of these castles in your books get blown up...

    I have used a castle twice in my writings (of course, they were just imaginary castles from my own head)...I used the one castle in my fantasy romance and the other was to emphasize the past life dreams of my character.

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  6. It would have to be a romance in that setting - an historical romance (as in ancient history) with Phoenicians & Greeks. And a battle. There would have to be a battle.

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  7. Hmmmmm. Maybe when I rule the world, that will be my vacation island.

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  8. I'm thinking too much ouzo and a dead body in an olive press, or a rooftop cistern. We'll need a festival in the narrow streets. That's a given.

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  9. It sounds like something out of a mob revenge story, doesn't it?

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  10. Oh it's so beautiful! I've always wanted to go to the Mediterranean. Those are really cool names for your following books!

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  11. Gorgeous place! I think location is very important in writing. I haven't used location much in my own writing but I know that when I read a novel set some place where I have been, it is so much more interesting to me, precisely because I can identify with it more.

    I think, since I have never been to Italy, that I would have to go there and use the location to maybe write a tourist piece, full of the history, legends, lore, etc. of the place. Then one day I might use it for one of my memoir pieces!

    Now if I could only afford to go!

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  12. Sword of the Faith, which will be the next one, is the name in English of the terrorist group I'll be using.

    And A Cold Day In Hell was given to me by the good graces of Norma, who was going to use it for a title in her Berkeley days, but the marketing chimps at the company said it wouldn't do well in the Bible Belt.

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  13. Ha ha! Well I'm from the buckle of the Bible belt (thank God I'm in MD now) but that is the most rediculous thing I've ever heard. I did know some extreme conservatives who wouldn't watch a lot of things because of sex, drugs, violence...hell even fantasy cartoons that had magic in them! I knew people who truly thought Pokemon was evil. Still that title wouldn't shy anyone away...most of them would just mistake it for religious fiction about going to Hell. Lol. Well, at least thanks to Norma you get to use it now.

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  14. Those are very beautiful photos. I can say that if I were given an opportunity to write a story in that location, it would have to be a romance novel. :)

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  15. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos. Please, next time you have pics of exotic places, share. They are very inspirational to look at, and I'm sure if I were there writing it would indeed inspire me. Look forward to reading how you will use these places in your novel. Take care!

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  16. Absolutely gorgeous pictures! All kinds of stories come to my mind. I had never heard of Ischia, but now I'm ready to go there:).

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  17. I think Bella and Edward should go there for their honeymoon and then they can meet up with the Italian vampires living in that castle and they will all want to kill Bella because frankly who doesn't want to kill her since all she does is mope around. Then Jacob will have to come to Italy to help save her. We can call it Twilight - Mid-afternoon!

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  18. I'll agree. It's a pretty cool place. But if I were writing about it, I'd want to be there alone without all the tourists, and boats, etc.

    Maybe I should try fiction, so I could go to these places in my mind. Maybe some day.

    Or I could just read your book/s. I plan to.

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  19. Ischia, I have never heard of the place. Oh, the pics you posted were beautiful, made me calm.

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