Writers are often advised to write what they know. While I don’t have a lot of personal experience with reincarnated boyfriends, I do know a thing or two about Sheffield, the primary setting for A Strange Companion.
Sheffield is a city in the north of England and it’s also is my place of birth. I lived there until I was 18, when I went away to study in South Wales (where the opening of the book takes place.) Much of my family still lives in Sheffield. In fact, my mum still lives in the same house where I grew up, so I go back to visit at least once a year.
There are usually three groups of people outside the U.K. who know anything about Sheffield:
- Ice skaters—because some of the highest quality professional blades are made in Sheffield
- Football (soccer) fans—because the city has two famous teams: Sheffield Wednesday (my team) and Sheffield United (not my team)
- Music fans—because Sheffield has produced Def Leppard, Joe Cocker, Arctic Monkeys, and The Human League
If you’re a movie fan, you should know that The Full Monty was filmed in Sheffield and if you like comedy, Sheffield produced both Eddie Izzard and Monty Python’s Michael Palin.
The city sits at the confluence of five rivers, making it the perfect spot for the forges that eventually made it famous as a steel city. That same industry, as Kat points out in the book, also made it a bombing target during World War II.
Despite all the industry, Sheffield is known as “the greenest city in Europe” and boasts 83 parks. When you read A Strange Companion, you’ll quickly learn, through Kat, that the city is surrounded by stunning countryside.
Here are few pictures of one of my favorite cities in the world (and I am completely unbiased in this opinion!)