Author of Enough, Emmy in Harding, After His Heart, Banff Springs Abbey, Suspiciously Reserved: A Twist on Jane Austen's Emma, Expectations: A Continuation of Pride and Prejudice, and Subgirl. This blog is dedicated to all things reading and writing.
When I first imgained writing a modern day version of Emma, I assumed I would set it in England. I wanted to keep things as similar as possible, since I love the story so much. However, when I then considered I’ve never been to England and would not be able to write authentically about it, I turned to Canada. What places in Canada were like the places in Emma?
I chose White Rock B.C. as the setting for Jane’s first meeting with Frank. It is on the ocean, a great place for sailing and within easy travelling distance of Seattle, where Frank would live. I had been to both of these places on family holidays, but it had been some time. The more I wrote about these settings and researched details, the more I wanted to visit them again. One of my favourite places featuring a favourite scene is on GranvilleIsland in Vancouver. Such an eclectic meeting place for the arts, food, crafts and quaint little shops.
Then, Jane needed to return to her home with the Campbells. In Emma, this home is in London. I needed a city that I knew well. Having lived in Saskatoon for ten years, I was excited to revisit some of my favourite haunts. I chose one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in the city for the Campbell’s home and was able to use Beaver Creek Conservation Area, TCU Place, Broadway Street and
Spadina Avenue in my book.
Finally, Jane needed to return to her roots – In Emma this is Highbury, a small village within a day’s journey of London. I can’t remember when I first thought of using Tugaske (pronounced Tuh-gas-key), Saskatchewan, but as I wrote, I found it the perfect place for a snug, tight-knit and slightly conservative community. I visited Tugaske with my husband in the summer of 2006. Most people have never heard of it, but with its easy access to DiefenbakerLake, many artists-in-residence and attachment to a agricultural history, it is a beautiful setting for romance.
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