Every Jaspa’s Journey book takes place on a variety of scales. Zooming in, you have the individual places where particular events occur. This can be as small as a single room or, say, the viewing platform at the top of the Monument in London.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have the area that covers the whole book. In The Great Migration and The Hermit of Kennecott, this respectively includes vast regions of Tanzania or Alaska. In Jaspa’s Waterloo, it’s a single historic (albeit a very large) battlefield in Belgium.
In terms of geographical scope, The Pride of London falls somewhere in between these extremes. But being set in a major city, it’s an area jam-packed with details and potential places for Jaspa and his friends to have adventures.
I always start planning a book at the ‘Big Picture’ end of this scale, ‘looking down’ from above with the help of a map. This is how I begin selecting locations where Jaspa’s latest adventure will play out. Where could Jaspa go? From this (hopefully) comes an idea for a central storyline that will tie the pieces together. Why is he moving about?
Of course, in this age of Google Earth and easily accessible satellite imagery, you can take the virtual ‘looking down’ to a whole new and more realistic level. You can focus in on the location where a specific event – or even the whole book – takes place. Even so, its extra special to do this with your own eyes, without the aid of a computer, tablet or phone.
When the wind is from the west, airliners approaching Heathrow airport often fly over the very heart of London. From such a flight, it’s possible see the whole of the area in which The Pride of London takes place in a single view. Focus more closely and you can see some of the individual locations from the book… like the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral… And if your really lucky and observant, you might even spot the viewing platform at the top of the Monument, where the story truly begins.
I fly into London once or twice a year, and always hope for a westerly wind. Because I never grow tired of seeing Jaspa’s adventures laid out below me!
The above post is taken from this month’s Fiction Meets Fact Newsletter. To receive future newsletters in their entirety (together with a Free Jaspa’s Journey Booklet including the short story Freefall over London and Jaspa’s Journey images to colour), click on the image below.
Expand the minds of your strong middle grade readers by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first four – The Great Migration, The Pride of London, Jaspa’s Waterloo, and The Hermit of Kennecott – are now available in both paperback and ebook formats. Click here for more information.