When I write a book, I try to infuse it with a sense of place, try to make that place real for people who haven't been there and probably never will go there. My first three books – The Cupid Effect, The Chocolate Run and My Best Friend's Girl are all set in Leeds and I hope that I have managed to capture the uniqueness of the city with my writing.
I'm a Londoner who loves her home city, so why did I choose to set those novels in Leeds? Because I feel like I grew up for the second time there and I wanted to honour that in some way. I completed my first degree at Trinity and All Saints – now Leeds Trinity University – and then lived there for two years after I finished my degree, so it's a place that I'll always hold close to my heart.
When I wrote the first three books, I wrote about the city that I remembered with its adorable quirks. Yes, it had changed physically in the time between leaving and committing it to paper, but I don't think its heart and its life-blood of people changed that much.
My first three books were published well over a decade ago, and I haven't set the bulk of a story in Leeds since, but for me, the city has become a bit like a Stan Lee from the Marvel movies. Stan Lee helped to create a lot of the Marvel comics and their equally successful movies, as a result, he made a cameo appearance in each of the movies until his death recently. It's always a joy to see Stan Lee for those brief seconds in the movie and you're almost always waiting for him to appear.
It's always a thrill to be able to find a way to add Leeds into whichever novel I'm writing. Sometimes it's just a sentence, other times it's several scenes. In my latest book, Tell Me Your Secret, the 'Stan Lee/Marvel' moment manages to mention one of Leeds' most iconic buildings where I, like the main character, worked for a short time and being able to do that was like the icing on a rather marvel-lous cake.
Alumna and Honorary Fellow Dorothy Koomson is an award-winning author who makes no secret of her fondness of Leeds. Dorothy studied Psychology and Public Media from 1990-1993, before taking on the role as Vice-President of the Students' Union. Whilst her pursuits as a writer has seen her move to London and then Brighton, Dorothy has always celebrated her Yorkshire roots through storytelling.
Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson was published by Headline on 27 June.
< PreviousNext >