I Heart London
By A. Shea
London—home to Big Ben, the West End, Harrods, Buckingham Palace … and me. London is my hometown and I LOVE it. I’ve lived in the United States for a decade, in Italy for three years before that and in Japan for four years before that. And I’ve always missed London throughout my time away from it, so much so that when I started writing my YA urban fantasy novel The Stolen Wings, I knew that it would be set in London.
Growing up in South London
Like the character Natalie in the movie Love, Actually, I grew up in “Wandsworth, the dodgy end”, an area of South London. However, I spent a lot of my weekends and school in and around Soho where my dad owned a travel agency. As a fashion and beauty obsessed teenager, I would traipse around the corner from his office to Carnaby Street, the birthplace of punk and goth culture, chock full of shops and boutiques that celebrated rockers and the New Romantics of the 80s. It was here that I bought my first pair of skintight black jeans, a leather jacket and skull rings, as well as several pairs of fingerless lace gloves, a tulle skirt and colourful leggings: A rock chick-pop princess mashup.
London Fashion and Beauty
A couple of blocks away was Oxford Street and here I indulged in the fashions of ‘the Great British High Street’—all the retail outlets from TopShop to a new American store called The Gap, for all the trends happening right that second. When it came to makeup, it was usually Boots the Chemist but sometimes I would splurge and visit the cosmetics counters at the department store Selfridges, a stone’s throw from Bond Street station. These fashion and beauty landmarks from my youth definitely influenced what I wrote about in The Stolen Wings, where fairies from the fashion and beauty realm of Lustrelucida create magical potions for face and body and enchanted dresses at a spa in London from the crystal, gemstone and fabric flowers that grow in their fairy realm.
Streets of London – the birthplace of London fairies? …
The London I loved was also all about the pavements and alleys. Pounding the streets of London is how I would think, reflect and dream. The neverending bustle of the streets was a completely natural environment to me where I could walk blocks in my own world, with the blaring horns of the black cabs and revving of the big red bus engines serving as white noise. When I started writing The Stolen Wings, I had the main character, Trula Vermilion—a London teenager with a fairy heritage—spend a lot of time walking around the Big Smoke.
London and Inspiration
London has always been the centre of the creative universe for me. Not just because of its world-renowned museums, theatres and art galleries, but also because of all the originality it engenders. Artists, designers, musicians, and actors from all over the country, the continent and the world gravitate to London to be inspired to make things—a painting or a play, a business or a social enterprise. It was an easy stretch for me then to imagine Glamporia Vermilion, the spa run by fairies in Regent’s Park, creating their magical concoctions to soothe the skins and souls of Londoners.
I’ve been away from London a very long time. And I don’t know when or if I will ever live there again. I do know though that it inspires me constantly and I still long for it with a passion: I will never stop ‘hearting’ London.
Get in Touch with A.Shea via her website https://a-shea.com/contact/
The Stolen Wings (Lustrelucidan Chronicles Book 1) by A.Shea – a highly imaginative and enchanting novel of real life fairytale and fantasy – set in modern day London, all about fashion and beauty!
Available at Amazon.co.uk - https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stolen-Wings-Lustrelucidan-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B073NNP7Y4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1518729353&sr=8-2&keywords=the+stolen+wings&dpID=51H2AzfCvgL&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=srch
Read Daisy’s Book Review of The Stolen Wings at - https://www.datingdaisy.net/thestolenwingsbookreview