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 another. 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 it 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, it will almost be publication day. 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’ where I’m setting my characters. In A Cornish Affair a hotel is central to the story. Therefore when I began writing I looked for a suitable picture 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 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.
However, 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 my fictitious Tarwin House which had also been subject to extension over the years. All in all, it was a perfect match.
My current WIP has moved across to the south coast of the Cornish peninsula. Again I’ve looked for inspiration in the landscape. This time my search was for a coastal town, and happily i twas much easier to find than the inspiration for my fictitious hotel.
Every writer has their own unique way interpreting sense of place 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….