Giveaway: Clare London

I’m offering a free download of Freeman today to a lucky commenter on this blog and *also* to a commenter on the video reading. Don’t forget to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win! The giveaway will be picked on 27th November at 5pm, GMT.


“Look,” says Hubby with a wry smile. We’re snuggled on the sofa together, watching a movie. “It’s set in London.”

Is he psychic, you ask? A close friend of the producer? A devout follower of IMDB and/or the celebrity movie news websites? No. He’s just seen the double-decker red bus trundle past in the background LOL.


So many movies and pictures rely on triggers like that, don’t they? For London, we have the buses, the black taxis, the phone boxes (vanishing fast), the London Eye, Big Ben, TowerBridge … to be honest, we’re spoiled for choice of iconic scenes.

My recent release FREEMAN is set in London. When I first drafted it, I deliberately set it in AnyCity rather than a specific place. It was to add to the mystery of the story, the “Everyman” nature of Freeman himself. But when I re-released it earlier this year at Wilde City Press, I made it clearer that the city I used as its setting was London.

Excuse my bias towards London, but I’m living and working there, it’s the city I know best, and it fascinates me. But I’ve also written stories set in Brighton, Totnes in the south-west, Exeter, Scotland and various “alternative, no-name” cities around the British Isles.

And of course, other cities – as they say – are available! I’ve read and enjoyed many stories set in the United Kingdom that evoke marvellously the spirit of the place, its scenery, its history and the unique characteristics of its inhabitants.

Hubby and I also joke about movies set in the US, how it sometimes seems there are only 5 cities in existence – New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco – and they’ve been devastated by enough giant monsters / aliens / natural disasters / Decepticons to make us wonder how there’s anything left for any future features LOL. But again, in fiction, there’s the option of so many more places that can come alive in the reader’s imagination.

How do you feel about physical setting in the books you read? Do you skip over the scene-setting as background wallpaper, or does your reading act as a travel pass to exciting new places? Do you admire the author’s love for the place, or wonder just how much research they’ve done to get authenticity? How do you feel if a book features *your* place, or somewhere you know well – does it thrill or creep you out?

Let us know! As they say, it’s all about Location, Location, Location.



EXCLUSIVE today: this link to an extract from FREEMAN, read aloud for your entertainment!

Freeman’s return to the city is quiet, without fuss. Another client: another case. He’ll source what they need and be on his way. But he’s been missed by more people than he thought: his ex-wife, his ex-lover, and his ex-business partner. And at least one of them wants him the hell gone again.

Freeman — private, controlled – just does his job. But when he strikes up an unusual friendship with the young runaway Kit, trouble comes looking for both men, ready to expose secrets that can destroy their fragile trust. Yet, for Kit, Freeman’s more than ready for the challenge.

Clare London

Writing … Man to Man


19 thoughts on “Giveaway: Clare London

  1. I most certainly do not skip any parts that describe Counties, Cities, Villages. I think it adds to the feel and excitement of the story. At the age of 48 I have not been to many other countries so I love to learn about different cultures through reading!

    As I was born and brought up in Fulham, London..yes I
    Still live in Fulham I have to admit to absolutely love reading a book set in London as I can visualise the streets and imagine the sounds and smells that are going on around a character. I am always just that bit more excited I guess! 🙂

    From Tracy Shayler

  2. I don’t care where books are set if the author can conjure enough of the feel of the place especially if it is somewhere quite wild, although I did read a book set near Albuquerque and I could almost feel the sunshine on my skin and want to move there! Is it far from London??

  3. I tend to pay more attention to places that are smaller, like rooms, rather than whole cities unless I’ve traveled to that city before. But most of the time I’m into the character interaction rather than the scenery.


  4. I do enjoy the ambience set by the description of the story’s locale, although I admit that I often do skim read it. I am still taking it in, though. Just in broader brush strokes. Reading a story set in a familiar place does huge me a thrill, probably because, being in Australia, it happens so rarely.

  5. I love it when an author writes about a place I know well. Harper Fox just wrote a murder-mystery set on Bodmin Moor. As a Cornish lad I know the area very well, so it was nice to read how Harper managed very well to bring the essence of the moor and it’s quirky inhabitants alive in her book. Essential to the plot and characters.

    I think authors have to get the descriptions of the surrounding correct to give the reader a feel for the place. It all adds to the whole effect giving the book a well rounded feeling for me. You know where the characters are coming from. After all the surroundings effect our character, traditions, who we are and how we interact.

    This sounds brilliant Clare. Would love to get my hands on this one to read, right up my street!

  6. I tend to pay more attention to the location descriptions when it’s a place I know. Lately I’ve really enjoyed reading books that are set in either NYC or London since I’ve visited those cities during the last 4 months. The other instance where I notice I pay closer attention is when the location is something exotic or even totally made up.


  7. I do pay attention to location descriptions, and if it’s a place I’ve been to or knows well it gives me a little bit extra. London is one of my favourite cities to visit, and I try to see something different every time I go.

    If the location is somewhere I’ve not been to (yet) I still pay attention, but it doesn’t have the same impact on my reading experience (which is kind of strange, as an unfamiliar location is as abstract/theoretical to me as man-on-man loving)! 🙂


  8. I love audio books! It’s so rare for a story to be set where I live but I love it. Please count me in for the give away.
    kimandpete (at) me (dot) com

  9. So great to see Freeman rereleased. I love this story. The characters have depth and chemistry, the plot is intricate, the writing evocative, and there is the perfect amount of nail-biting action. Congrats!

  10. Hi, Clare, the setting is very important to me and I like to make it a character that often intrudes into the story. Sometimes the setting comes first. When I was a child, growing up in my grandparents’ home in the Belmont Hills in California, the town was full of sanitariums, leftover reminders I believe from the horrors of the TB epidemics in the 20s and 30s. My NaNo story this month is set in a similar sanitarium where infected impoverished children were sent by their parents for tons of country fresh air, nutritious meals and in general, what they hoped was a cure for TB at the time. So for me, the setting often jumpstarts a story for me. And in this instance, it’s a case of the past being visited in the present. Would love to read Freeman as I’ve read so many good things about it. Best wishes across the pond to you and Freeman.

  11. I enjoy the descriptions of locations, especially places I’ve wanted to visit but never have, such as London. I even like books set in places I know, to see if the author got it right! I’ve lived lots of places, both here in the US and abroad as well.

  12. I love description and ‘seeing’ the setting of a story and always feel a bit short-changed if the author skips too quickly to the action. A well described setting can add so much to a plot and provide exciting conflict.

    I was born in London but left it when I was tiny so am not at all familiar with it and actually find it quite scary. I like Hyde Park, though 🙂

  13. I really enjoy descriptions of locations/settings. When well done, they can add a lot to the story. And teach me some new things, too. I love to travel – even if it is just through a book. Although, if an author gets something significantly wrong about a location I know, that can really pull me out of the story.

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

  14. Hi Clare, Loved this book – reminded me of the film Payback with Mel Gibson, think I’m going to have to re-read now it has come back to mind. Good luck with your audio version!

    Best Regards Karen

  15. I consider the location to be like a minor character because each one has its own unique personality and has an influence on the tone of the story. I do enjoy stories set in places familiar to me – it makes it more personal.

  16. For me it depends on the book. Sometimes the descriptions of locations are setting the mood or setting up a scene. Other times I feel like it’s just there to lengthen the book and doesn’t add to the story at all. That doesn’t seem to be too often though and it doesn’t really bother me as long as it’s not boring. I would love to be counted in for a chance to win a copy of the audio book. Thanks a bunch! 🙂

  17. Thanks to everyone for the great comments! It sounds as if many of you agree that – as Denise so aptly puts it – the setting should be a character in the story itself. I think that it does add a layer of authenticity to the story, especially if the area involved has unique characteristics. I also think an author can be caught out if they haven’t done their proper research! I’ll never forget my d****d hubby watching the Harry Potter movie and announcing to my sons’ eternal upset, “well, THAT’S not platform 9 at Kings Cross!”. (yep, I’m afraid he was right, filming has its own licence *g*).

    I admit I like writing my internal scenes best – the ones where two men sit in a room across from each other and have a conversation full of tension and (hopefully) passion *g*. I like to write that personal intensity. But it’s very important for an author to engage *all* the senses in their writing, and the external setting is a wonderful opportunity for that. Can’t count the times I’ve tried to write the smell of fish and chips LOL.

    P.S. One thing I’ll have to disappoint you all with – the audio excerpt is *only* that (an excerpt, I mean) and not a whole book. Yet *g*. If I can find the resources and narrator, maybe that’ll be a future project for me. So the giveaway is for the ebook.

  18. So authors really make the location come to life and I love that, but if it’s just set in “everytown” I don’t mind. 🙂


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