Sunday, November 08, 2009

A New Destination - Christina Hollis

Italy will probably always be my first love. After a childhood spent looking for Roman coins and bits of pottery on the Gloucestershire Cotswolds, I grew up to study the terrors in togas (with a side order of Robert Graves’ Claudius novels as a little light holiday reading). It was a long time before I started majoring in the ‘pretty’ side of Italian life. Ah, but one visit to Tuscany and I was hooked! The people are wonderfully laid back, and the countryside is so inspiring. Best of all, there was no Doc Martin (yes, that really was my brilliant tutor’s name!) peering over my shoulder muttering ‘are you sure that’s genuine, dear girl?’.
I love the place so much I can’t resist setting books like The Count of Castelfino there, although Italy may soon have a rival for my affections. I was flicking through a copy of Waitrose’s glossy and stylish Food Illustrated magazine when I came across a feature on Cyprus. I love researching my books, and when that combines food and foreign countries, it’s a winning combination. I settled down to read the article and study the sumptuous photographs. It was a real treat. Sizzling sunshine, slanting shadows and clusters of white painted houses beneath earth-toned tiles were all set against a shimmering golden haze. It really made me want to spend some time there.

The funny thing is, the more I travel, the more I find that people all over the world are alike. We all want the same things: food, shelter, love, affection and respect. There are good and bad characters in every community, happy, sad, funny and serious. Mostly, we’re all a mixture of every type. Which face we present to the world at any particular time often depends on how we’re feeling, or how we’ve been treated. I certainly feel pretty miserable when I look out of the window onto a wet Wednesday in winter!

But then I glance at that magazine article, with its sunshine and descriptions of delicious food. A gorgeous hero is just waiting to be unleashed on that unsuspecting island, as soon as I can get around to booking a holiday there. Things are looking up!

Meanwhile, can you tell me anything about Cyprus? I’d love to hear from you!

Christina Hollis writes Modern Romance for Harlequin Presents/Mills and Boon, when she isn’t planning family meals or daydreaming about holidays in the sun. Catch up with her on her website, and on Twitter, where she tweets as christinabooks.


Linda Henderson said...

I don't know anything about Cyprus but I would love to visit there. Maybe I will when you write your book. I've visited a lot of places through books.

heidi87 said...

I hadn't been there but i hear it beautiful and once you go you never want to leave.

Christina Hollis said...

You may have hit on an ideal solution, Linda! Armchair travel is often a lot more convenient than the real sort. There are no delays, you aren't surrounded by strangers and there's no danger of losing your luggage. Best of all, you can have refreshments whenever you like, and made your own special way!

Christina Hollis said...

Heidi, Cyprus certainly looks beautiful from the pictures I've seen. Tranquil sea, beautiful scenery and lovely weather. A research trip is definitely on the cards!

Alison said...

Isn't Cyprus called 'Aphrodite's Island'? Or maybe I'm mixing it up with another one of those Mediterranean islands beginning with 'C' - so inconsiderate of them!

Christina Hollis said...

I've just checked, and Aphrodite was 'born out of the sea foam near Paphos' - very romantic... Mind you, it's quite a name for a heroine to live up to!

Mary said...

I'm like most here and know next to nothing about Cyprus. I've never traveled outside the U.S. But would like to one of these days.

Christina Hollis said...

My OH is always trying to get me to travel with him to the USA, Mary. I've never done it because I don't fancy long hours without him, while he works. He says the US has everything - but then, it's so enormous you must have every possible climate and situation covered!