How does an author pick a setting for their novels? – Rebecca Tope lets us into a secret

In libraries throughout the U.K. Rebecca Tope’s popular crime fiction novels are on display. She has two main series: one set in the Lake District and the other in the Cotswolds.

Rebecca Tope enjoying tea at the Bedford Hotel in Tavistock, Devon

Her latest novel Echoes in the Cotswolds has just been published (Allison & Busby Limited 2021).

Echoes in the Cotswolds

When asked why set she had set a series against the backdrop of the ‘Tranquil Cotswolds, she explained that her publisher had ‘told her to’. Their rationale may have been that the Cotswold villages with their honey-coloured limestone-built houses are a popular destination for visitors from all over the world.

The result of the suggestion provided Rebecca with the opportunity to explore the Cotswold villages. Many of these are no more than a cluster of houses and have curious ancient names and associations such as Upper and Lower Slaughter, Minster Lovell, Great Tew, Turkdean and Painswick.

Rebecca’s search for appropriate settings for her Cotswold novels, the most recent being set around Northleach, ties in with her engagement with all aspects of history. This interest has also resulted in her recently published biographical account of her Aunt Wendy, Wendy in Wartime, Volume 1 of the Scorer Family Memoirs (Praxis, 2021). This first instalment of the biography based on Wendy’s diaries unmasks the double standards attach to sex and marriage in the late1930s and 1940’s and is an ‘eye opening’ read.

Wendy in Wartime

Rebecca is also a world expert on and has a fascination with the works and life of Sabine Baring-Gould, Vicar, and best-selling late Victorian author (one of the top 10 most popular novelists of his time). She has written a 534-page biography of his life and works Sabine Baring-Gould, the Man Who Told A Thousand Stories (Praxis, 2017).

Baring Gould’s Parish Church and home at Lewtrenchard in Devon is close to the market town of Tavistock that I live in. Baring-Gould wrote novels, collected old folk songs, wrote hymns, was fascinated by Nordic myths and was a serious amateur archaeologist investing large amounts of the money he made from the sale of his novels into archaeological digs.

Baring-Gould (28th of January 1834 – 2nd of January 1924) along with writing hymns wrote some cutting edge and scary Gothic stories that rival the works of Poe and Stoker.

2024 is the anniversary of his death and it is rumoured that Rebecca and other Sabine-Baring Gould enthusiasts might be planning an ‘event’ and writing competition to celebrate his literary legacy. If you would like to be put on the mailing list for details of this ‘event’, please email and your details will be passed on to Rebecca Tope.

For more information about Rebecca’s novels please see: