This year has been particularly busy. Back in February I learnt my forthcoming debut for Choc Lit/Ruby would be published in June. Since then so much has happened. It has a new title – ‘A Cornish Affair‘ – I’ve been working on edits, a cover has been chosen by Choc Lit’s Tasting Panel and the book will be published on 18th June.
Alongside this I have been working on a new novel, this time set on the south coast of Cornwall and featuring three families with close ties. At the moment I’ve completed the first draft, gone through one complete revision and am about to start a second. Holidays in a week’s time will interrupt that process but I find time away is good as I’m able to reflect on what I’ve done and whether I can think of any improvements. And no, I will not be taking the manuscript away with me, well only in USB stick form (which I always carry with me when away from the house) but I’m not planning to go anywhere near a computer – honestly! By the time I return I’ll be ready to get back to work again, and of course, publication day for ‘A Cornish Affair‘ will only be a week away. All in all a busy time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
When I’m working on a novel, I try to take actual places or buildings as an inspiration. They may end up with a fictitious name but it’s important I can actually ‘see’ the setting for my characters. In A Cornish Affair a hotel is central to the story. Therefore when I began writing I looked for a suitable photo I could use. One hotel on north coast of Cornwall which I was already aware of was The Headland which overlooks Fistral Beach. The location, on a cliff overlooking the sea, was right but the building was totally wrong; red and beige brick, solid, square, it wasn’t anything like how I saw Cat’s ancestor Jago Menhenick’s creation. I ran with it for a while, using the photo as my screensaver but it didn’t inspire.
Then, several month’s later while staying in Richmond for a few days I found exactly what I was looking for. The Petersham Hotel, miles from
the coast, became the elegant Tarwin House Hotel with its wrought iron balconies and tower. Jago had wanted to create a mansion to reflect his wealth in tin, copper and later china clay. For him it had to be different; slightly alien to it’s environment. But most of all he wanted people to stop and admire this creation of his. Built in 1865 The Petersham was described as ‘florid Italian gothic’. Various extensions have been added in the 1950s and 1970s – in line with the changes to my fictitious Tarwin House which had also been subject to extensions over the years. All in all, it was a perfect match.
My current WIP is set on the south coast of the Cornish peninsula. This time I’ve looked for inspiration in the landscape. A coastal estuary town which has been much easier to find. Every author has their own unique way interpreting sense of place when they write and for me having something real I can relate to is essential if I am to bring a story to life.
So that’s it for May. I’ll be back next month with more news….