Have you ever wanted to watch a movie at home and stood staring at a shelf full of DVD’s, pondering which one to select? Have you ever found it so hard to choose that you’ve given up and walked away?
I used to, until I realised there was one movie that I could watch at any time – a go-to movie that would always satisfy. For me, that movie is The Hunt for Red October.
I can’t put my finger on exactly why I love that movie so much, nor could I begin to count how many times I’ve seen it – the fact I can recite it almost line by line probably gives you a good idea of my viewing frequency. And it was my love of Hunt gave me the inspiration for my upcoming book, Seeing Red.
The story of Seeing Red is the opposite side of submarine life to that portrayed in Hunt. The fact that the focus of the movie is on action in a submarine made me intrigued about what happened on the other side of submariner life.
As much as submarines fascinate me, very little of the story of Seeing Red takes place on a sub. When I chose to write it (Did I say chose? It demanded to be written!), I wanted to write from the shore-based point of view - from the side of those who stay behind when the subs leave on deployment.
In last week’s blog post I shared some wonderful images of submarines in and around the New London/Groton area, the location of the US Navy’s first submarine base - New London. The Base is spread over 687 acres of land with more than 200 major buildings, and has 6,500 military personnel, and over 1,000 civilians working there on a regular basis. It’s not a small place by any standard!
I chose New London for my story’s setting as it has all of the elements I need: lots of submarines and sub related activities; a counselling service for Nell, my heroine, to work in; on base accommodation; and a lot of readily available information to access. The more I looked into the Base, the more I realised it was the perfect backdrop. That was location sorted!
Just like Beth’s career choice of forensic botanist in the White Rose books, I don’t remember making a conscious decision about Nell being a psychologist - she just is. The US Navy has Fleet and Family Support Centres (FFSC) located on their bases to support all involved with the Navy; both the sailors and their families. The counselling service provided by FFSC is Nell’s workplace, and the building the actual FFSC is located in at New London was ideal for the events that unfold. Things just seemed to keep falling into place. Even the Rock Pond at the top of the base is real, and provided inspiration for a couple of scenes within the book.
I could go on and on about the small things that inspired me and drove the plot for the story, but it was the movie that started the creative flow. One small thought, and now I have a book, and I know a whole lot more about submarines. I’ll leave you with some images and links of Submarine Base New London, so you can check out for yourself!
Submarine Base New London website
Google map of the base (make sure you're using the Earth view - it's more interesting).
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