A new and exciting pin on the Pin a Book map this week: Tina Clough, the author of Running Towards Danger takes us to New Zealand! And she’s (originally) a fellow Scandinavian. Should be an interesting mix, don’t you think?

Tina Clough headshotHow did the setting of your story impact your writing?

The start of the story takes place in Auckland, New Zealand but it could have been anywhere. The rest of the action happens in a small place called Clive between Napier and Hastings in the Hawke’s Bay province (but Clive is called Riverton in the book). The twists and turns of the plot are very closely linked to real features in the landscape (rivers, bridges, railway lines etc) and it meant that I had to be careful not to create situations that took too many liberties with the facts.

How or why is the setting important to who your character is?

I don’t think it mattered as far as building a credible character – Karen/Cara could have lived in any western country, but I do think that I have given her a fairly typical NZ flavour – she’s strong minded, practical and physical.

When you visited France, which location did you prefer?

Running Towards Danger by Tina CloughLoved the Loire valley and the Massif Central where we drove a rental car through hot summer days.

 Which part of the French archetype did you discover to be right?

The love of food and the little food shops – delightful and fun. Which I had expected. Can’t think of any impressions that turned out to be wrong apart from the fact that when we got robbed the police were amazing! Kind and patient and took endless trouble to ensure we had the documentation right, so we could make a claim on our travel insurance. My French friend found this nearly incredible when we told him of our wonderful police experience.

If you were to create a “typical French” character, how would you describe him/her?

I would use my very good friend Arnault as my model. He is a French chef who lives in NZ and I have known him for 20 years. A bit stroppy, stubborn, funny, affectionate and kind.

What do you think would be the greatest cultural shock for a Frenchman who visited your home town?

What most visitors comment on is the casual way we New Zealanders dress and how we invite people into our homes even the first time we meet them. French visitors say they find it amazing, so open.

 

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