I’ve already commented that characters come first in a book with me. In the case of The Virgin of Clan Sinclair, Ellice was always going to be the heroine. I knew one other thing – where I wanted it to take place, in a magnificent house like Hopetoun, outside of Edinburgh.
Here’s a picture of Hopetoun from its website.
When you first see the house, you lose your breath. It’s so magnificent and so overwhelming you just want to stand there and stare for a little while. The aerial view is even better.
I never saw the interior of the house (the word “house” doesn’t seem to do Hopetoun justice), only the outside, but it was enough to make me want to use the house in The Virgin of Clan Sinclair. In the book it’s called Huntly but there are a few changes. There’s now a Celtic knot in the courtyard. The two outer buildings – the library and the Dowager Countess’s home – are larger. The main building has columns and a gold dome. Oh, and there’s a chapel in the woods just to the right of the picture.
Seriously, isn’t that a beautiful house? No wonder my imagination went amok.