Raven McAllan: Have laptop, will travel – and does

Raven McAllan’s novella, For One Night Onlyis from Valentine’s collection A Little Bit Cupid. There’s eight stories in the collection, spread between Pride and Totally Bound Publishing. For One Night Only is available to preorder now, and is published on 11th February 2020.

Here’s Raven to tell us about her travels.

When my lovely husband retired I knew life would change. For several years we’d been doing our gap year in two and three week stints, both at home and abroad. Now we decided it was time to indulge ourselves whilst we were fit and able and extend those two or three weeks to four, or five or even six.

We both have a bucket list of places. Some we share some we don’t. Some have surprised us.

We’ve been to a fair few places now. We plan carefully, and do think about our carbon footprint.

I’ve been lucky to go to some amazing places, and quite a lot of them appear in my books. I guess I thought at least then no one could call me out for not knowing where I am writing about…


I can laugh about it now, but a few years ago I was describing a 5 star hotel with a pool, a running track and self-catering facilities in the room.

I was told in no uncertain terms that a 5 star hotel would not have catering facilities. I had great pleasure in sending a link to the website of the hotel I had based my hotel on.

Seriously, pull me up on my grammar or my spelling, not on my facts.

I’m anal about facts. I made the lovely hubby walk around London with me so I could get my Regency facts and streets correct. It helped he’d been to meetings in Berry Brothers and Rudd, in St James. That gave me even more insight.

Where I setting a book is 99.9% likely to be somewhere I’ve been or lived. Thinks Actually, I’m now trying to think of somewhere I have in a book I’ve never been…

Well apart for the fact I wasn’t around in Regency times or during WW2… drawn a blank.

In Hong Kong, the lovely husband and I were walking across Lamma Island, something we’d done before, when I suddenly stopped dead and pointed to a side trail. “That’s where Braam and Debra went and sheltered from the rain in Hong Kong Heat,” I said. “And got a bit carried away.”

Hubby looked at me and raised an eyebrow. At that point a group of tourists headed by an umbrella-waving leader marched past us.

We burst out laughing. No, that didn’t happen in the book.

It’s not the only book set there, but it was the first, and I was so glad I knew what I was describing was correct—or as they say was correct at time of writing.

Lovely hubby is used to me pointing to something or somewhere, and saying, that’s in such and such book.

The big rock on a Barbados beach, the hotel we’ve stopped in the villa we’ve rented, the ferry in Devon. All used in a book.

Yes, I make towns and villages up and yes on occasion I’ve based a house or a place on somewhere real, but used a different name. In one of my shifter stories, I based my hero’s house on one belonging to one of my neighbours, but placed it somewhere else. After all, some things are private. Wink

I do take my laptop with me. It’s amazing how much you can get written on a plane. And how much interest it can generate.

Many years ago I was lucky enough to be travelling to South Africa in the lay-back seat bit. (Careful not to name airlines here.) I went to the loo, and left my laptop on my seat.

When I returned there was a bloke reading the m/s. I said, excuse me, and he moved to let me past. I had to do the ‘er, no sorry, this is my seat’ thing. He smiled, never mentioned he’d been reading my m/s and moved on.

Half an hour later I went to get a drink to be told by a member of the cabin crew that the two guys in seats x and y wanted to know what happened after she (my heroine) got in the bed.

I gave her my card and asked her to tell them they’d need to buy the book to find out.

Several months later, just after the book came out, I got an email…

“Bought the book…wow and wow… “

Nice one.

Of course it’s not always like that. I’ve been told that anyone can write romance (really, go on then), erotic romance is smut (Grr) and it must be nice not to have to work! Oh and don’t forget the… “How much do you earn!”

I always say one of the first things you have to learn, as an author is to bite your tongue and smile sweetly. Then go and swear in a corner.

Would I swap what I do?

Not one thing. I’m lucky, and I know that. And I know the day will come when we say no more travelling. But until then I’m filling notebooks and word docs. Taking photos and adding cryptic comments to remind me what that place or this is going to be for.

Have I used every place I’ve been to and love? No, weirdly not. One of my favourite places in South Africa… never set a book there. USA? Australia? New Zealand? No, there’s a lot of people who can set a book in those places a lot better than I can.

But Barbados, Hong Kong, Singapore, and lots of places in the UK pop up. Although as I said earlier, some are disguised.

Have I been to places I intend to use in the future? Oh yes… We were on Gozo recently and I had a story running through my head four nights on the trot. I made notes before I forgot it. I’ve ideas for lots of other places, but as I told those blokes…

You’ll have to read the book (s) to discover where…

Happy reading,

Love Raven xx

A little bit more about me…

Well what can I say?

I’m growing old disgracefully and loving it.

Lovely husband and I live on the edge of a Scottish forest, and rattle around in a house much too big for us.

Our kids have grown up and flown the nest, but roll back up when they want to take a deep breath and smell the daisies so to speak.

Away, I write wherever I can put my laptop. At home, I write in my study, which overlooks the garden and the lane.

I’m often seen procrastinating, by checking out the wild life, looking—only looking—at the ironing basket and assuring tourists that indeed, I’m not the bed and breakfast. That would mean cooking fried eggs without breaking the yolks, and disturbing the dust bunnies as they procreate under the beds. Not to be thought of.

Being able to do what I love, and knowing people get pleasure from my writing is fantastic. Long may it last.

Visit Raven’s website, her Blogspot, her Raven and Kera Facebook page, her author page on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her books at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.




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