I live on the edge of a quiet, typically Spanish white village high in the mountains of Almeria in South-East Spain. We already knew the area as we had a holiday home there for a few years. Then we bought an olive grove and built a house in it. The best advantage I have found from living in Spain is an improvement in my health. Since I suffered badly from arthritis in the UK I was in much less pain and therefore able to pursue my writing, and my life, with fresh vigour. I’ve also found peace and tranquillity, of mind as well as body, all essentials for a writer.
I also write historical fiction and love researching the history of Russia, France, Spain or wherever, for these books. I do feel very European living in Spain, and have friends of all nationalities, which I think widens my perspective on life.
The major disadvantage is in marketing and promotion. I used to do regular talks for libraries, the WI and other women’s organisations, but all of that has had to be greatly reduced, which is a shame. We now spend several months each summer in our holiday lodge in the UK, so I’m able to fit in some talks and events during those periods.
Fortunately, interviews can now be conducted online, as can blogs, chatting to my readers on Facebook, and other aspects of social networking. That in itself is demanding, but at least it doesn’t matter where I live. A writer is no longer dependent upon such events as talks, although I still love doing them, and always attempt to make them entertaining.
As well as Facebook, Twitter, a website and blog, I send out a regular newsletter to my readers, hold contests, prize draws and the occasional giveaway, and take part in many forums and loops. All part of being a writer. Wherever writers live they still have the problem of balancing time needed for writing with that spent on promotion. There’s no perfect solution.
There is a certain myth that the weather is always hot in Spain. Brits have this vision of swimming in the pool in February. Well, let me explode that one. It ain’t gonna happen. True, it’s not as cold on the Iberian peninsula as it is back in the UK, and certainly warmer than Shap Fell where we used to live back in the 80s, but winters can be cold, windy and wet, which on really bad days can result in power cuts. Not good for a writer dependant on her computer but really quite romantic in a way. We light our candles and sit by our blazing log fire and read our books. What could be better than that? I feel I have the best of both worlds.