Aiden in Of Magic & Scales owns a coffee shop called Bicas R Us in a beach town in Portugal. Even though he’s not Portuguese and he hasn’t lived there that long, he feels right at home in the small coastal town of Carcavelos. After all he has everything he most treasures in life: lots of coffee, lots of sun and ocean, and many shirtless surfers heading to the beach. Aiden is not the only one who feels at home there; this writer does too. There’s a very good reason for it; I was born and grew up in that area and spent most of my springs and summers (and some winter days too) on that same beach Aiden so loves to lounge on.
My family and friends, most of whom still reside in Portugal, have been asking me for years, “When are you going to write a story set in Portugal?” Well, twelve books later I finally did it. I’m not sure why I hadn’t done it before since I wrote books set in several of my favorite places in the world. Lavender Fields and Dark Feathers are set in Maine where I spent a few lovely summers, Fictional-ish is set in the same Scottish town I lived in for four years, and Infinite Blue and Her Real Man are set in small local towns I know well and visit often. Maybe I was reluctant to write about my own native country because I was afraid I wouldn’t give it the recognition it deserves. Whatever the reason, I am so happy I finally inserted my own homeland into one of my stories.
It was the most fun I’ve had writing a book and a lot of that was due to the fact I was revisiting all these wonderful places, the sensations of walking along the beach on a windy day, or sitting in a coffee shop esplanade with a bica (espresso) and a pastel de nata (custard pie). Or strolling through the magical grounds of Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra and the mysterious and otherworldly Convento dos Capuchos.
My hope is that readers will feel the joy I felt while writing it and that they too, in truly bibliophile fashion, can experience the sights, sounds, and tastes (Portuguese people take food very seriously) of my wonderful tiny country by the sea.