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?