Welcome Author Amanda James
Thrilled to have the very talented author Amanda James guesting on my blog today. Her new novel ‘Somewhere Beyond the Sea’ is now available and not one to be missed. It is set in beautiful Cornwall where Amanda herself has moved to. How idyllic is that? I asked Mandy if she would like to guest post and tell us all about life in lovely Cornwall.
If you haven’t read any of Mandy’s books I cannot recommend them highly enough. ‘A Stitch in Time’ is just fab.
Over to you Mandy…
A Long Journey to Cornwall
I’d like to share with you a journey, a very long journey to Cornwall …
My first memory of the place was when I first came here on holiday. I was four years old, about forty years ago (okay and the rest) and we stayed in Looe. I have vivid memories of running down a very steep hill from our little chalet on the cliff to the beach every day with my older brother. When it was time for breakfast, Mum would hang a red towel out of the window and we would go back up. I also remember walking along a quayside, not sure which one, now, and seeing rows of sharks hanging on hooks. There was a big chalked sign saying words to the effect of ‘Do Not Touch The Sharks – Skin is Abrasive’, so guess what I did? Yup…I had a plaster on my finger for a while.
Since then, I have always longed to be close to the ocean and find it so inspirational, calming, and peaceful. I grew up in Sheffield and then moved to Bristol, ever inching southwards. Over the years I have returned to Cornwall on numerous occasions. There’s just something about the county which makes you breathe a sigh of relief as soon as you cross the border. I have always felt so at home here and adore the beautiful countryside, the costal walks and the Atlantic north coast in particular. It is rugged, wild and breathtakingly stunning of course. I do love Falmouth too, especially pootling around the great shops on the high street. But then of course at the end of the holiday I always had to leave and it was such a wrench every time because I felt I had such strong bonds tying me there.
I remember I often used to say that I’d love to live in Cornwall, and folk would nod and say things like, ‘Ah yes, that would be nice, or yeah, we can all dream, eh?’ But people didn’t really think I meant it, neither did I come to think of it…but here I am! Yes, I moved here in August 2013 and boy, I’m glad I did!
And of course I didn’t come alone. I brought a large section of my family! In total there are four generations that have moved from Bristol. There’s my husband Brian and I, daughter Tanya, her husband Manus and their two children, Ronan and Esmé and last, but not least, my parents who are both in their mid-eighties. Tanya and family were the first to settle here in July 2013 and then as I said, we moved in August, my parents came last in mid-December. The whole plan has been a logistical nightmare; well it would wouldn’t it, selling three houses in Bristol and trying to buy others in another county, fairly close together and more or less at the same time? But after a few hiccups, amazingly it happened.
Why did the wider family move? Tanya and I have a very close relationship and being apart from each other especially now we have the grandchildren would have been unbearable. And of course, she wanted a better life for her children. Bristol has many good points, but lots of fresh air, and being close to the beach and countryside is a great environment in which to being up kids. Mum and Dad never settled in Bristol, being from Sheffield originally and they too would miss us if we lived apart permanently. They are already looking forward to fresh air and crab sandwiches – a favourite of my dad’s.
And apart from feeling a great affinity with the ocean and Cornwall, I feel that I will be much more inspired to write looking out over the fields here instead of at a cul-de-sac! The very thought of moving here inspired my novel Somewhere Beyond the Sea. Published by Choc Lit on the 7th of April and is set in the fictional Cornish village of Kelerston. It tells the story of a young married couple, the husband is a doctor and the wife is at home with a young family and though they have a few problems, they seem like the ideal couple. One of them has a dark secret however, and if this secret is exposed, their whole life could be shattered. This story is very different to my first novel published with Choc Lit – A Stitch in Time, is a romantic comedy about a time travelling history teacher.
I got my ideas for this book whilst travelling back and forth looking for houses, staying by the sea and feeling more at home on the north coast where the book is set than any other area. And strangely, from the TV programme, Doc Martin! Tristan in my book is nothing like Doc Martin you’ll be pleased to know, but I liked the idea of a GP working in a close-knit community.
I do realise that I am so lucky to be living in this great area, but my recent experience of trying to get published has taught me some valuable lessons. If you believe in yourself and really want something – be prepared to work very hard for it, be determined to succeed and never give up. I am looking forward to living the dream now, the journey to Cornwall has been a long time coming, but so worth the effort!