A guest post from Rosanna Leo “Orkney’s unofficial ambassador.”

Welcome to my blog Rosanna. It’s grand to see you here.

I’d like to offer a big thank you to the lovely Daisy for hosting me today! I’m so excited to be here as part of my current blog tour for my new paranormal erotic romance Selkie’s Revenge.


                                                               Selkie's Revenge

Now, if any of you read the previous book in the series, The Selkie, you’ll know this series takes place in the Scottish island of Orkney. Orkney is actually an archipelago in the north of Scotland, a wild country that has Norse and Pict roots and was occupied as far back as Mesolithic times.

Sounds as if I know a lot about this place, right? Well, uh…

Honestly, I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Orkney although it is one of my dreams to travel all over Scotland. And yet I write about it. I’ve been fortunate enough to have readers respond saying my selkie books transport them to this wonderful, mystical place. And I am truly humbled by this praise.

Unfortunately for me, my books have been based on exhaustive research, but none of it in person. I have, however, scoured books and documentaries and websites and any bit of info I could grasp on this region.  Let’s face it: writers write about many different topics, but we can’t always be there in person to experience them. Life doesn’t always provide those opportunities.

And I can’t always set my books in the same place. I come from Toronto, Canada, and several of my stories have been set in the environs of where I grew up. Still, there’s no way I could stick to writing just about Toronto. I need to have a broader scope, both for my own interest and that of my readers.

So how does an author portray a setting without having stepped foot in it?

1) Raid your library. And I mean raid it like a crazed Viking on speed. Take advantage of its many resources.

2) Talk to people from the region. I grew up Italian Canadian but was surrounded my many Scottish people in my neighborhood. I almost feel like an honorary Scot from all the conversations I’ve had with those lovely people.

3) Go online. You’d be surprised at what you find there. The Internet is a wealth of information. Just be careful that you use reputable sources. You wouldn’t want to describe a country’s climate in your book, and have someone from that area contradict you later.

4) Documentaries are amazing tools for helping one establish mood and feel and all those intangibles that you can’t get from a book. In watching programmes about Orkney, I could almost feel the sea mist on my face and the wind at my back.

5) And most of all, let your imagination run wild. Yes, your readers will want the facts, but they also want an escape. Use a few bits of information to establish your setting, but don’t get bogged down in historical details, dates and times. Unless you’re writing an historical book based on specific events, I’d wager your fiction reader really just want s feel for the area. After that, it’s all about the story.

Will I ever make it to Orkney? Sure, one day, and I will be so excited on that day. However, for now, I must be content with exploring it in my imagination. It’s almost as fun as the real thing.                                                 


Rosanna Leo
Let me tell you a story…

14 thoughts on “A guest post from Rosanna Leo “Orkney’s unofficial ambassador.”

  1. I enjoyed and agree. A story has so much more depth if the place is well known to the reader. The only way to set the stage is if the writer is familiar with it? excellent info!

  2. Rosanna, a great blog and I am sure that everyone will agree research is the key, but weaving the story is the magic – looks like you have that all wrapped up too. Time to buy Selkie’s Revenge.

    • Thanks so much Diane, and I’m so pleased it caught your eye. I appreciate you being here. 🙂

  3. I’m dying to get to Scotland and Ireland. Just a few more years and I can dump these kids on a grandparent for a week… Selkie’s Revenge sounds lovely, Rosanna. It’s on my TBR pile for sure–everything I’ve heard makes me think this is so far up my alley it hurts! Think I’ll go buy it right now so I don’t forget, actually. 🙂

    • Oh, thank you Kimber! Much appreciated. 🙂 I know, my hubby and I are just waiting for that day too! 😉

  4. I love to do research to explore new places and things. It sounds like I’m not alone. Great tip about documentaries. I would never have thought about that.

    • Thank you Gemma! The docs were a wonderful source for me. You hear the people talk, see where they live, and find out all kinds of cool tidbits. Good luck in your research!

  5. I think it’s true for most writers; research online and via the library are valuable tools and you certainly made Orkney spring off the pages for me! So glad Calan has many male siblings whose stories are yet to be told! Cheers, Susanne

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