Jul 302011

This castle is one of the hidden secrets of South Devon. It is only a few miles from the centre of Torbay yet is visited by a mere hand-full of persons each day. It occupies a most romantic location, perched on the side of a deep wooded valley and is approached from the Paignton -Totnes road.

The entrance is between two cottages and down a long, winding, thickly-wooded drive. Parking is in the former quarry whence came much of the stone for the castle. In front of the medieval gatehouse is a narrow meadow where you can imagine tilting and other ancient sports taking place.

Inside the old castle walls are the three-storey remains of the grand Tudor mansion of the Seymours and to the north of this building is a splendid terrace overlooking the valley where no doubt Elizabethan courtiers once strolled at their leisure.

Richard brings Susannah to this beautiful location on their first day out together in The Gigabyte Detective.





Jul 242011

Mljet is claimed to be one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean – in a sea full of beautiful islands. It is a thickly forested getaway destination with a small population and relatively few facilities.

The most spectacular thing about Mljet are the saltwater lakes created when a huge limestone cavern collapsed, allowing the sea to enter through a narrow tidal waterway and flood a large part of the northern end of the island. Now these lakes are surrounded by steep wooded hills, originally the walls of the cavern.

In the larger lake is an islet on which was built a Benedictine monastery, now converted into a hotel. It is here where the love scene and part of the action leading to the climax of Dancing with Spies takes place. It is hard to imagine a more romantic location.

Mljet’s ancient history claims Odysseus encountered the Nymph Calypso here and St Paul is supposed to have visited the island (then called Melita) and rid the place of venomous creatures.

For modern travellers the romance and secret peace of the island is all that one can ask for.

Jul 162011

When I last visited Dubrovnik they had nearly finished restoring the beautiful old city from the devastation caused when it was under siege and attack during the Yugoslav Civil War.

The beautiful setting of the traffic-free city with its encircling walls which can be walked round; the little harbour with the fortress towering over it; the dark narrow alleys stepping up the hills; the heavily wooded off-shore islands – these all combined in my mind to build an ideal setting for a spy story.

When you add to that the city under siege; the mix of races and religions mingling in the narrow streets; desire for independence; the threat of the powerful Serbs and Montenegrins to open fire on the isolated community – it all adds up to an exciting storyline.

That was the beginning of the inspiration which led me to write Dancing with Spies which will be published in e-book formats later this month or in early August.

To know more visit  http://mikehillier.com

Jul 142011

I am a writer. I have written, among many other things, seven complete novels and I am currently working on my eighth. I want as many people as possible to read my work and, if they wish, to give me their comments on it.

So, on this site I am going to tell people about my books, what started me writing them and the sources of my inspiration. It may also have information about what my friends write and how we work together. In addition I will probably give my views on a number of topics, most of which will appear in my books in some form or another.

I hope you will enjoy reading these ramblings and you will be welcome to give me your positive views on the subjects covered.

If you want to know more about me and my books  go to my website.