Louise Mangos: Location, location, location – Swiss style

I’m delighted to welcome a second ‘writer abroad’ from Switzerland and another crime fiction writer – see JJ Marsh, my first guest in this series. (What do they put in the chocolate there?)

Louise Mangos grew up in rural Hertfordshire in the UK but travelled extensively in her twenties, eventually settling in Switzerland where her long love affair with the mountains began. She has published two psychological thrillers and another is set for release in April 2022. Her short fiction has won prizes, been read out on BBC radio and appears in more than twenty print anthologies. She holds a Masters in crime writing from the University of East Anglia.

Over to Louise!

Setting a novel where you live eases the job of adapting the narrative, without periodically stopping the creative flow to research the location. It has long been my opinion that the setting plays an equally important role as the characters in a novel. The writer needs to convey not only the geography, but the climate, culture, senses and quirks of a setting that might be unknown to many of their readers, and it’s more exciting and challenging when these are foreign locations. But when an author actually lives in their setting, these traits are often already ingrained in the creative pool.

Lake Ägeri (Ägerisee) at Morgarten (Photo: Karl Baer, CC BY-SA 3.0 licence)

I’ve lived in several areas of Switzerland for more than half my life. My debut novel is set in the central Swiss village where I currently live on the shores of the Aegerisee (Lake Aegeri). My second novel is set in two locations: a ski resort where I spent much of my twenties, and a women’s prison situated north of Bern. The latter was unknown to me until I began to research penal institutions in Switzerland. Several visits were necessary to get a feel for Hindelbank. As the ski village is a place that actually exists, I wanted the prison to be a real place too.

My latest novel, The Beaten Track, which publishes in April 2022, is set mostly in the Léman region of the French part of Switzerland. But it also spends many chapters on a currently implausible backpacking journey around the world (it is set in the early nineties, to avoid not only the pandemic but also the digital restrictions imposed on crossing international borders unnoticed). Tapping into the journals I kept when I was backpacking around the world on a shoestring budget in the eighties and nineties, I’ve hopefully brought the global settings realistically alive in this psychological thriller.

Over this past year many ex-pat writers have been bound to their country of residence, which has distanced us somewhat from where our books are mostly sold in the English-speaking world. But being forced to isolate in the Swiss Alps has not been a great hardship. The most difficult part of the pandemic has been the inability to connect personally with family back in the UK. After the initial anxiety causing writers block at the beginning of the pandemic, living in an isolated mountain village has proven to be one of the best and certainly safest places in the world to write. And it has planted the seeds of new projects.

The Battle of Morgarten November 1315 (Tschachtlanchronik by Tschachtlan and Dittlinger, c. 1470. Public domain, Zurich Central Library)

Stepping outside the comfort zone of psychological thrillers, isolating in Switzerland has given me the opportunity to complete a long-planned novel – a medieval mystery set around the events leading up to the Battle of Morgarten. Should this relatively unknown event in history have ended differently, Switzerland might never exist today.

It helps that I live a short cycle ride from the site of the battle. Immersing myself in the landscape surrounding the village of Morgarten has been a major advantage in conjuring the sense of time and imagined experiences of people living and surviving in that era during the birth of the Helvetic Confederation (today’s Switzerland).

Historical fiction requires far more research than contemporary fiction. Immersing myself in the geography of a place that has changed very little over the past 700 years, has made it easier to write about what life was like back then. Once polished, I’m looking forward to bringing this new genre of mystery to readers.

(And we’re looking forward to reading it, Louise!)

 

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Connect with Louise
Website: https://louisemangos.com/
Facebook author page: https://facebook.com/LouiseMangosBooks/
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Louise-Mangos/e/B07BTW6FY9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LouiseMangos  @LouiseMangos
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/louisemangos/

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Read Strangers on a Bridge
To what lengths would you go to protect your family?

When Alice Reed goes on her regular morning jog in the peaceful Swiss Alps, she doesn’t expect to save a man from suicide. But she does. And it is her first mistake.

Adamant that they have an instant connection, Manfred’s charm grows darker and his obsession with Alice becomes stronger.

In a country far from home, where the police don’t believe her, the locals don’t trust her and even her husband questions the truth abut Manfred, Alice has nowhere to turn.

Buy from Amazon: https://mybook.to/StrangersOnABridge

 

 

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series. Double Identity, a contemporary conspiracy, starts a new series of thrillers.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines and taste world the latest contemporary thriller Double Identity… Download ‘Welcome to Alison Morton’s Thriller Worlds’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be among the first to know about news and book progress before everybody else, and take part in giveaways.

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