Ruhr Valley, Mohne Dam, RMA Sandhurst, Carnaby Street, Jersey Channel Islands, Radio One, Lords, Army Bases, Luxury Cruises, and Only One Woman

Following on from my last post about locations for Only One Woman, where Christina Jones and I decided to place our characters, I thought I’d share a few more locations and research photos from our novel.

Only One Woman is the story of two girls in love with the same musician and is set against the backdrop of the music scene of England in 1968/69.

Find out more by tuning into global theauthorsshow.com channel 6 today to discover more and to hear Jane read a chapter from Renza’s June 1968 diary when she visits the Dorchester Hotel and Carnaby Street for the first time.

https://wnbnetworkwest.com/channel/6

Their lives are shaped by living during the Cold War and the Moon Landings, political assassinations, and the student protest against the Vietnam War. Turbulent but exciting times.

No sooner had Renza set foot in Germany, Czechoslovakia was invaded by Russia. The tension was high in the village she moved to.

Both girls are fashion and music-mad and love to copy the makeup and clothes of their favourite stars such as Julie (Jools) Driscoll, Cher, and Dusty Springfield. Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton were model icons at the time.

Both girls loved wearing their lace-up boots with their mini and maxi skirts and dresses.
Stella adored sparkles on everything, including her eye makeup.

Scott and his band, Narnia’s Children arrive from Jersey in the Channel Islands eager to record and tour throughout Britain and Europe, and to enjoy the exciting and ever-changing music scene at a time when anything and everything was possible.

From time to time Narnia’s Children returned to play ion Jersey, Lords was one of their favourite venues.

They didn’t want anything to stand in their way, especially girls. That is until Scott met Renza and Stella and everything changed.

Only One Woman is told through the diaries of Renza and Stella which each girl kept religiously.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones/dp/1783757310

My character – Renza – alongside the supporting characters in the story, were initially situated in a small, rural, and mostly fictitious, village in England.

One of the stops on Renza’s daily paper-round in the village. (c) Jane Risdon 2010
The cricket pavilion and pitch in the grounds of the RMA where Scott and Renza would sit whilst waiting for his roadie to arrive. (c) Jane Risdon 2010
The iconic red phone and post boxes situated in Renza and Stella’s villages, often used by Renza. She didn’t have a family phone at home and a trip to the call box to ring her friends was necessary.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07ZR9QZQN

My other main character is Scott, lead guitarist with Narnia’s Children. In addition to touring and recording he and his band are also booked on to Luxury Mediterranean Cruises to help supplement their – for the time being – meager earnings, which were also being subsidised by their manager: waiting for the big-time to hit once their latest record is released.

Jersey, Channel Islands
Jersey, from where Narnia’s Children arrived in England
(c) Jane Risdon 2020 Endless gigs around the UK, Europe.

Christina placed her character, Stella, and supporting cast, in a small rural English village, in a different county from Renza – in fact, a couple of hours away from where Renza lived, if travelling by car. Not that many could afford a car back then. Most people used the train and buses.

Scott and Stella spent a wonderful magical time in a snow covered Oxford.
Steam trains and buses were the most common form of travel.

The opening chapter of Only One Woman sees Renza getting off a steam train at her local station which is eerily deserted…

The Railway platform in Only One Woman which escaped the Transport Ministry cuts by Beecham (c) Jane Risdon 2020
Stella (c) Christina Jones 2018
Stella, (c) Christine Jones 2018
Stella made all her own clothes and often adapted standard patterns to suit her way-out style.

Street-wise Stella’s life is very different from that of the younger, more inexperienced Renza, however.

Renza (c) Jane Risdon 1968
Renza (c) Jane Risdon 2018

As the story progresses both Renza and Stella move to new locations and so do the other principal characters; Scott and his band, Narnia’s Children. In fact, they move frequently.

Art: Pixabay Images
Scott wrote songs for Renza and played them on his Philips Cassette recorder which was reasonably new technology at the time.

All our locations were fun to research and are mostly figments of our imagination, although some are real. We have blended fact with fiction. We wanted to give our characters and their environment an authentic feel.

I used the RMA (Royal Military Academy) Sandhurst as the place where Scott and Renza used to walk. I know it well and it fits perfectly the location I had in mind for their walks.

RMA Sandhurst Old College, (c) Jane Risdon 2011
RMA Lakes (c) Jane Risdon 2010
Photo (c) Trish Steel. Lark Hill Army Base UK is my Merry Hill base.

I used Lark Hill Army Base in Wiltshire, England as the fictional, Merry Hill, where Renza watched Narnia’s Children perform for the first time and where she encountered some hair-raising sights.

The late Demis Roussos was the inspiration for Psychedelic Smith, the music entrepreneur who was with the band that night in Merry Hill before their the van broke down. they took Renza experienced to an amazing and quite shocking party.

My inspiration for Psychedelic Smith

Renza travelled from England to Germany early in the novel, and I thought I’d share some of my research photos to illustrate her life in England and in Germany.

The rural village in the Ruhr Valley which I used as the fictional village where Renza lived in Germany
I used the Mohne Dam as the location for Renza’s date with her German boyfriend who worked at the Army Base with her.
https://wnbnetworkwest.com/channel/6
The Army base in the Ruhr Valley where Renza worked is now owned by a manufacturing company. This is the main entrance.

Whilst Renza was in Germany and Stella was still working at the AERE, in Berkshire, now Oxfordshire, Narnia’s Children were on tour in Germany and Europe. They they spent an uncomfortable few days near Paris when they all suffered food poisoning whilst awaiting their manager to fly over to rescue them and their broken-down van.

(c) Risdon 1969 Paris
Only One Woman

Stella travelled from England to Jersey (Channel Islands) to enjoy an illicit summer with Scott.

The ferry from Weymouth to Jersey which Stella sailed on when she first visited Scott in Jersey.

However, I am sure that those of you who have read Only One Woman have your own images of what our locations look like. I know when I am reading a novel I have a vivid mental picture of the locations for the story, and the way characters look.

It can be a shock to see them as the author intended in his/her imagination whilst writing. I was really surprised at the choice the TV production company made for the actor who was to play Peter James’ character, DCI Roy Grace. When the actor was announced, Peter said he was his ideal, but he didn’t resemble my own idea of what Roy Grace looked like.

Renza had her transistor radio on whenever she could and she loved Radio One, and the Pirate radio ships such as Radio Caroline.
Both girls had a vast record collection, singles and albums

Yet, when Daphne du Maurier wrote about the Helford River in Frenchman’s Creek, I had such a vivid idea in my mind of how I thought it looked, I feared I would be disappointed when I visited the Helford River, many years after reading her wonderful novel, whilst working on an album (recording) in Cornwall.

I was not disappointed. It was the Helford River of my imagination. Daphne du Maurier’s descriptions were exactly how I imagined it.

I hope you enjoy the photos I am sharing and that Stella and Renza’s locations do not disappoint.

https://wnbnetworkwest.com/channel/6

Only One Woman is back on theauthorsshow.com and I hope that you will tune in and listen as I chat about writing Only One Woman with Christina, and where we got our inspiration for the story and our characters.

My interview with host Linda is fun. I really enjoyed it. I read from Renza’s diary of June 1968 when she is taken to London by her father’s cousin to see his new art exhibition, followed by dinner at the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane and a visit to Carnaby Street.

https://wnbnetworkwest.com/channel/6

I hope you will click on theauthorsshow.com link channel 6 and listen in. It is also in their archives where you can access it whenever you like on a 24/7 loop/

Carnaby Street were Renza was taken for the first time in June 1968
Left: The gorgeous Oliva Tobias, star of the hit musical HAIR
Renza saw HAIR in Germany with a friend who was shocked at the nudity.
Renza’s worked for the MOD in Germany and Tanks and Scout cars became very familiar to her part of her daily routine.
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Thanks for visiting. We appreciate it. Let us have your comments if you listen in.

Signing copies of Only One Woman – Jane and Christina.
Musicians and guys love Only One Woman too. A trip back to the grooviest decade of the 20th century.

10 Comments »

  1. Particularly loved the dress making pattern. I used to make my own clothes and was also a wannabe fashion artist for a while, so I remember this style of image so well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gilli I did dressmaking at school but cannot sew to save my life, Christina on the other hand made all her clothes and they were brilliant. I wonder if people still make their own clothes?

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      • Loads did when I was young but clothes reduced in price so, from being a cheap alternative, it actually became more expensive. And why bother? I also became less prescriptive about what I wanted to wear for ‘special’. I used to design my own outfits and then adapt paper patterns – often buying 2 or 3 – to achieve the effect I wanted. I feel the tide is turning a bit. A bit like cooking/baking. Whether TV programme makers are following a growing trend, or kicking off a new one, I don’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

        • My husband made some of his clothes and did all the repairs, zips and buttons etc. I hated it all. I admire anyone who can achieve a dress from a pattern or change it to suit them. Pity some of the clothing purchased in stores now is not as well made.

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