top of page
  • Barbara Copperthwaite

The importance of setting – and why I chose Tynemouth for THE PERFECT FRIEND (+ GIVEAWAY!) #Th

Deciding on the setting of a book is always so important. It helps to create the atmosphere that will inform the entire story; for me, location is almost a character itself, and getting it right is key. I generally choose a place where I’ve lived, such as Blackheath or Colchester, even the fictional village of Fenmere was geographically based on the village where I’d grown up in Lincolnshire. So what made me choose Tynemouth for THE PERFECT FRIEND, given I’ve never lived there?

I’d actually spent five months working on a completely different book, before abandoning it. Much of that time had been spent being ill and having medical tests, and the whole experience left me physically and mentally exhausted. I couldn’t face doing on more work on that manuscript. In fact, I confided in my friend, Julieanne, that I feared I’d never write another book. All I’d had were some thoughts about the kind of character I’d like to write about, but no clue how to make it into a book, and certainly no plot.

Julieanne is my oldest friend, we’ve known each other since we were thirteen, and she instantly came up with an incredible offer. She was going away for half term, which meant her house in Tynemouth would be empty.

‘Come over, use it as your own, and get away from everything,’ she said.

So, after a four-hour drive I found myself in Tynemouth, wandering along the beach with my dog, Scamp by my side. My mind wandered as much as my feet, aimless thoughts drifting as I was soothed by the hypnotic sound of the waves. There was a pile of kelp on some rocks, tangled as rope and as thick as my wrist, and from nowhere they inspired an image. It flickered to life, building into a scene. Words bloomed, imagery slotting into place. I needed to write this down – quick.

After hurrying to my friend’s house, I looked at my laptop. My stomach churned with nerves at the thought of opening it. Instead, I pulled out a notebook I’d brought with me, and within seconds my pen sped over the pages.

Over the following days, I went for long walks, covering between eight and ten miles a day while wandering around North Shields, Tynemouth, Cullercoats Bay, Whitley Bay, and St Mary’s Lighthouse. The notebook came with me everywhere, but I never once tried to think of anything, instead enjoying the beautiful scenery and the relaxing atmosphere – and that was exactly why the ideas raced through me. I stopped regularly to write in it, popping into local cafes and pubs to sit down, refuel, write down ideas, then walk on. By the end of the week I had a notebook full of scenes, two fascinating protagonists, and an intricate idea for a book that really excited me.

So many of the places I visited appear in The Perfect Friend – even the hot chocolate inspired me (if you’ve read The Perfect Friend, I’m sure you know the scene I’m talking about). More than anything, though, I hope I’ve captured the atmosphere of Tynemouth and surrounding area, with its rugged beauty and hypnotic sea. Without Tynemouth the book wouldn’t exist, so it only seems fitting that it should be the setting for The Perfect Friend.


GIVEAWAY! How to enter

From 28 July until 8 August inclusive, my posts on this blog will be followed by a question about the content. Find the answer, and then either comment on the post or email

Every person who answers correctly will be entered into a prize draw. The competition closes at midnight UK time on Friday 3 August.. The winners will be chosen at random and announced on Friday 10 August.

** Today’s question is: What first inspired me when I reached Tynemouth? Let me know! **

What am I giving away?

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of The Perfect Friend.

TWO lucky winners will receive a SIGNED COPY of Her Last Secret.

ONE lucky winner will receive a SIGNED COPY of Flowers For The Dead.

ONE very lucky winner will have a CHARACTER NAMED AFTER THEM in my next book. *


As well as this competition, check out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, for more ways to enter over the next seven days. You can enter as many times as you want!

* Please note that the character will have your name but will not be based in any way upon you or any person living or dead. Any similarities are coincidence. They may be a good person or a bad person – they could even be a killer. So be prepared! The part they play may be large or small. Entry into the competition is taken as agreement to these conditions. Thank you.



My name is Alex, and my world has been shattered.

My husband has left me.

My children won’t speak to me.

My friend Carrie is the only person I have.

She’s the only one I can trust to keep all my secrets.

She’d never do anything to let me down.

Would she?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page.

THE PERFECT FRIEND is available on: AmazoniBookstore; KoboGoogleplay

0 views0 comments
bottom of page