It’s nearly the end of summer, but there’s still time for one last holiday. We asked several authors what would be a particularly special one for them (not limited to reality) and which fictional character they’d take along as a chum. Here are their answers:
My perfect holiday would be a climbing trip. If we’re going fictional, then I would imagine that I could climb El Cap at Yosemite and I’d be there in September, in the glorious fall colours and weather that is warm, but not hot, dry, but not filled with biting insects. I’d have with me all my various climbing partners through the years and – still in the realms of pure fantasy – we’d do the Nose route in 4-5 days with hanging belays on the way up. I can only begin to imagine the sensation of topping out over the final edge on a climb like that…it would be utterly unmatched and unmatchable…
I’d take along Laure Berthaud, the fictional police chief in the fantastic French police series, Engranage (Spiral in English) except in my fantasy, of course, she wouldn’t be quite so rigidly heterosexual.
My idea of the perfect holiday would be a week skiing in the French Alps. I do love relaxing summer breaks abroad with the sun on my back and a good book in my hand, BUT, nothing beats the thrill of skiing, with routes planned out the night before, hip flasks topped up with Cherry Brandy and a sense of adventure from all in the group. Obviously you have the whole apres ski that needs embracing, starting with a swim and a sauna after a hard day on the slopes and quickly followed by good food and drink in the evening with friends.
I would love to take Alex Vause from the amazing Orange Is The New Black series. She is 5ft10, gorgeous and even though she’s a jailbird I could show her that you can cross borders and pass through customs without hauling ten ton of coke with you and the only powder we’d need for a good time would be that on the slopes.
I have already been on my perfect holiday this summer. It is on the Greek island of Zakynthos in a tiny village called Old Alikanas. Denis, the proprietor of the general store, has added a library of everyone’s discarded holiday books so I don’t need to carry books in my luggage. (I am not as yet a Kindle woman!) I stay at the Photographer’s Apartment which overlooks the sea, fifty yards away. I could live my life in that apartment. It is just one large room with everything I would ever need to live a simple yet happy life. Add to that a balcony, a sandy beach and a restaurant on the cliff top, for me, it is perfection. I love it there.
I’d take Antoinette Conway: the ‘mad’ wife of Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre, and doomed heroine in Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea with me. I feel that the heat, sea and calm of the island would have a beneficial effect on her troubled mind. She could sit on the balcony and think through her life or think of nothing at all – walk bare footed, with her hair flying and nobody would imagine her mad. Days would pass meeting only friendliness, sand to sink her toes in, water to soothe her, good food, a comfortable bed – she might even come close to a state of happiness.
My dream holiday is going to a place called Truk Lagoon. During the Second World War this was a Japanese stronghold and a huge port for the Japanese fleet. Because of this the US forces knew they had to capture Truk if they were going to defeat the Japanese. There are around 60 wrecks in the lagoon now. Planes, battle cruisers, submarines, barges, people carriers, and civilian ships that were caught in the crossfire. It is the ultimate wreck diving site for someone like me. This would be my dream holiday. Diving and photographing these amazing wrecks.
Of my fictional characters I would love to go on this kind of holiday with Oz, from Ladyfish. As a dive instructor and an ex navy diver, this holiday would be pretty special for her too, and to go to a place like this with someone else who appreciates it and understands the feeling you get from seeing this kind of thing…well, it all just adds to the experience. And Oz in a bikini is a whole other experience too…*drooling*.
What’s my idea of the perfect holiday? A winter holiday in Norway. In a large log cabin, complete with a roaring fire and clear view of the northern lights – surrounded by four feet of pristine snow to chill bottles of champagne. There would have to be a five star catering service to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner (with snacks in between). The days would be spent cross country skiing and snowmobiling. The nights – drinking champagne and reading a good book in front of the fire.
Which fictional character would I take with me? Sherlock Holmes – as I think he is a fascinating and complex character. I’m not too sure he’d be that keen on the snowmobiling though.
I’m not really one for sitting on a beach with my feet up, and I’m a complete armchair mountaineer, so I would love to trek to Mount Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas. I don’t need to climb the damn mountain; just laying eyes on it and seeing the surrounding peaks would be enough. But although I can cope with the thought of altitude sickness and knackering hikes, the prospect of a puddle-jumping flight into the area terrifies the socks off me. If someone could invent a teleportation device before my hips and knees give out on me, that would be very much appreciated.
For such a tough holiday I’d need a hard-as-nails travelling companion, so I’d take the Terminator’s Sarah Connor (the Lena Headey version, thank you very much) along for the trip. I’m sure she wouldn’t whinge about the exertion, she looks fabulous in a tank top, and she’d knock the hell out of any Hooray Henrys who might be lingering around Base Camp. I also reckon she’d have some fabulous campfire tales and would make a decent s’more, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a holiday.
My perfect holiday, as I always imagined it from rain-soaked Ireland, would have been lying in a hammock on an island with white sand that was being lapped gently by a turquoise ocean, palm trees swaying in the breeze, a Pina Colada in hand, a beautiful partner snuggled up beside me, and Clio beside us. However, I was in Mykonos many years ago and hated it despite the stunning setting. Therefore, now I’m going to plump for anywhere as long as it has sunshine, beauty, and quiet. And what would make it perfect would be the beautiful partner and Clio.
My favourite fictional character is Dory from Finding Nemo. This presents a bit of a dilemma as to how she’d get along on my perfect holiday as she’d need to be in water all the time. Another little hiccup would be her 3-second memory span and considering I’m losing my memory, and I’ve just spent time with my dad who is losing his memory too, I’m just not sure I could take a lot more of scenarios like “Yup, that’s the same shot of Prince George of Cambridge being carried out of the hospital…”, “No, seriously, they’re just playing it in a loop, he wasn’t carried out that many times…”. So, I’m going to cheat and say I’d take along any of the protagonists in my novels as, let’s face it, we authors are just a little bit in love with our characters.
A journey through the Alps, preferably using as many modes of transport as possible: steam trains and boats across those pefect blue alpine lakes, river ferries and cable cars… lots of hiking too. I adore mountains and the Alps are a wonderful combination of the beauty of nature at its most sublime and humanity’s capacity to be at home anywhere, even on a mountain ledge.
I grew up reading Heidi and the Chalet School series (by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer), watching The Sound of Music, and I’ve always been captivated by Alpine culture and scenery. I love the solid yet quaint chalets, the barren and wild peaks, the idyllic wild flower meadows, turquoise burbling streams and cosy inns. The fairytale castles of Bavaria would be a highlight for me, but there’s so much more… France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia. So much culture and history, so much variety, and yet something in common too: the effect of the mountains on every part of life. I feel at home there and I would love to spend a long time exploring those parts of the world.
The fictional character I’d take with me: Ooh, a hard question! There are so many characters I’d like to spend time with. I think perhaps Emily St Aubert from Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho. It’s a classic Gothic novel (published in 1794) and, though she’s a little silly, Emily really sees the sublime in everything. Although it’s over the top (and parodied as such by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey) I’d like to spend time with someone for whom natural beauty makes their spirit soar and feeds their imagination so completely. Either that or Joey Bettany, hero of the Chalet School books, so I could hike through the Alps with one of my childhood role models and enjoy Kaffee and Kuchen with her in a quaint cafe in a mountain town, as I used to dream of so regularly!
My idea of a perfect holiday is not as clear cut as you may think. You may believe that being a writer I would go into all the details of a magical and unbelievable realm and conjure images that leave the brain scrambling for some sense of reality. Alas. I’m a simple girl with simple pleasures, and none of them include a Mars moon or the mythical mystery of Atlantis.
Setting the scene. My scene. The perfect scene where I could be now has never been simpler. The Roaches. Not ‘cock’ roaches, although I should imagine there are a myriad of bugs flitting about in the long grass, but The Roaches, Derbyshire.
Imagine the feel of the soft summer breeze hitting your skin. Luxuriate in the sound of silence as it reverberates inside and allows you to actually sit and think instead of rushing off to do and see whatever the fad of the time may be. No Facebook. No Twitter (although birds may tweet on occasion). The only ‘signal’ you can get is a wave from another person passing – and they’re few and far between. Sitting near the peak in the grass and heather, two Borders sprawled next to me and panting their thanks to the Gods. What could be more beautiful? Actually. I’ll scrap the beginning. It is magical after all.
Which fictional character would I take with me? Wow. I can take someone? Anyone? Even some of the low down dirty rats I have read about? Maybe not them, then, and definitely not Christian Grey. No offence, but I would be too worried about him whipping out a ‘not ever to be mentioned by a lesbian’ body part and offering to douse me in champagne whilst I stared at it.
I’ll start again.
Would I plump for a Shakespearean sprite prancing next to me like Puck or Ariel? Or would I take a mean and moody Hamlet and hope he doesn’t bolt for the edge and plummet to his death? Would I trust Macbeth? Not a chance, especially if Mrs MaccyB was with him whispering in his ear. Jane Eyre, Agnes Grey, Catherine Earnshaw – all interesting characters, but would they bore me to death with all their angst and whinnying on about men?
Thinking cap back on.
Bridget Jones? She would be a fun one to take, but I can’t imagine her traipsing all the way to the top of Hen Cloud without her counting calories and smoking too many fags so she could barely breathe.
Got it. Wonder Woman. I mean, just think about it. Super powers, gorgeous, help me to get to the top and back again, gorgeous – again – and also can turn her hand to anything, even being gorgeous with those glasses on. And (very important part here) if I was a good girl, maybe she would let me try on her crown when no one was watching.
Result. Wonder Woman it is. Has anyone got her number?