The Herald - The Herald Magazine
MY FAVOURITE PLACE
WHERE IS IT?
Edinburgh centre, the very core of the city.
WHY DO YOU GO THERE?
To scout locations for my novels and on book tours, but mainly to recharge. While I’ve never had the privilege of living in Scotland (I stay in Chichester, West Sussex), I feel more at home in Edinburgh than any other city in the world. I relax as soon as I’m off the plane.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU GO?
I’m usually there three or four times a year, often travelling to other parts of Scotland but using Edinburgh as a base. I spend several days there at a time, just sitting, watching, soaking it in and imagining. I walk everywhere and discover new places each time.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER IT?
Not that Edinburgh needs discovering, but for me it was a weekend away many years ago. I defy anyone not to fall in love with Edinburgh the first time they set eyes on it. But it wasn’t just the architecture that captivated me. Edinburgh is truly multicultural. It thrives on being both fiercely Scottish and utterly global. I believe it’s the most welcoming city in the world.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEMORY?
Walking the streets in the small hours, alone, in midsummer. Edinburgh at night is a lightly slumbering beast. I got lost, didn’t care, walked the side streets for a couple of hours, pretended I’d gone back in time and felt the city’s heartbeat. It’s a city full of secrets and hidden places. You have to get off the
beaten track to find them.
WHO DO YOU TAKE?
I often take one of my closest friends, Ruth. We travel together whenever we can get a pass from our families and always end up having unexpected adventures, some hilarious, some terrifying.
WHAT DO YOU TAKE?
I take photos. Endless photos. I find something amazing every time I turn a corner, in every tiny garden, each street name. And menus. Edinburgh has some stunning eateries and bars. I absorb the memories ready to cram them into my books; not the tourist areas and bigger structures, but the quirks, the cemeteries, the houses that date back hundreds of years.
WHAT DO YOU LEAVE BEHIND?
Whatever book I’m reading at the time. I usually hand it to a hotel receptionist as I check out – they always appreciate something to read during the nightshift and I love passing on good books.
SUM IT UP IN FIVE WORDS.
Ancient. Wild. Inspirational. Thrilling. Vibrant.
WHAT TRAVEL SPOT IS ON YOUR POST-LOCKDOWN WISHLIST?
I’ll be headed to Belize as soon as we’re allowed to travel again. We plan to spend part of each year at a base in Central America and the rest of the time living as digital nomads, which will mean even more time in Scotland. It’s the best thing about being a writer. I need only a laptop and a toothbrush.
The Shadow Man by Helen Fields is published by Avon, priced £7.99.