Posted in Writing

September Update

Another month over. I’ve had my Cornish break, a relaxing week enjoying some fabulous food, visiting two amazing houses and gardens and soaking up the atmosphere in Fowey in preparation for my next book: the third and final part of my Cornish trilogy.

Back in July I’d booked all our evening meals weeks before our trip to South Devon. This time, however, I convinced myself that things would be back to normal. That meant booking Sunday and Friday lunches, our first and last meals, and working from there.  So when we returned from Sunday lunch, I scanned my mobile for the names and numbers of places in Fowey where we had previously enjoyed great food.  The first restaurant I called apologised and told me they were fully booked until the following Saturday!  It appeared staycation was very much alive and well.  The return of the new autumn term may have seen families disappear but a new and older set of holiday makers had arrived and the place was buzzing. However, all came good in the end and I managed to book us in on all but one of the remaining evenings.

One of the pubs I managed to book (twice actually) was The Old Ferry Inn at Boddinick. Luckily we were staying right next to the Boddinick Ferry which takes both cars and foot passengers. It meant we could hop on the ferry, enjoy our meal, and hop back on again to return to the apartment.  The pub’s dining room had a wonderful view of the estuary, looking up towards Polruan. On our first meal there, it was a warm, clear evening and we not only had the benefit of a great menu but also a fabulous view from our table as you will see from the photo below.  The white house with blue shutters on the left side of the picture is where author Daphne Du Maurier wrote her many novels.  

As with most holidays, the time went quickly and soon we were packing our cases for the homeward journey.  Fowey had became a bit of an oasis. Time to just chill out and think about nothing in particular – whether we were spending time with a glass of wine on the apartment’s patio, or watching the water traffic on the river. In my case there was an element of busman’s holiday.  Walking through its streets, I soon became drawn back to my fictitious estuary town of Kingswater.  My third and final book of the trilogy features one of the lesser known characters. Until that week, I still had no idea about her life or her family background. That had still to be created.  Happily, it wasn’t long before it all  began to come together. Now I’m almost ready to begin, and feel quite excited at the prospect of creating another story, which like the others, will contain not only romance, but an element of mystery and suspense.

In my last post I mentioned I would be talking about real life characters who had inspired my writing. In my first books, set in the fictitious Somerset village of Meridan Cross during the 1950s and 60s, I took the opportunity to incorporate one or two individuals I remembered from childhood. One character in the book was an old village man called ‘Doggie’ Barker. He lived in a cottage in the village with his canine companion, a border collie. Doggie’s character was taken from someone in the small Wiltshire village where I grew up. I remember him as ‘Brusher’ Stone, a nickname given him on account of the heavy moustache he sported, so my grandfather told me. A retired farm worker, he would spend most of his time during summer evenings leaning on his gate, chatting to locals who passed. His dog, a black and white Labrador cross, was named Toby, a name I kept for my fictitious canine. Central character Ella’s grandmother, Laura Kendrick, was also based on someone I ‘borrowed’. Marjorie Welch lived in the manor house and was our Sunday School teacher. Married to a retired army colonel and a former debutante (in the time when debs were presented at court), she moved in with her family when I was around eight years old. She thoroughly immersed herself in village life, running the elderly to GP appointments, collecting prescriptions, and even personally delivering a barrow full of logs to a young couple with a new baby when we were snowed in one winter. A wonderful character on which to base Ella’s strong, capable grandmother.

Of course drawing on childhood memories proved useful for my first novels, but as I moved on into contemporary romance, it became all about visualising my characters instead of ‘exporting’ them from the past. Having said that, I have to admit to still getting inspiration for my heroes from stars of both the big and small screen.

And just before I sign off, I’m pleased to announce that I have completed my Goodreads challenge for 2021. However, I’m planning to continue reading until the end of the year – there are so many good books out there. These are my September reads. I don’t usually make recommendations, but have to say Sarah Goodwin’s Stranded and Sheryl Browne’s The Liar’s Child are, in my opinion, a couple of the best psychological thrillers so far this year.

So that is it for the moment. Will catch up again at the end of October.

And now off to write, wish me luck!

Best wishes