Every writer needs a café. I’ve said it before. Mine is a particularly nice one in a fabulous setting – the Taste Café at the Chesil Beach. It does exactly what it says on the packaging, and I can enjoy my coffee with huge views over the Chesil and the Fleet Lagoon, part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. How lucky am I, eh? At this time of year it’s full of brent geese, waders and gulls, clearly visible through the café window. The building also houses a wildlife centre, so as you can imagine, I’m a regular visitor.
Last winter I came here to write my novel Whales and Strange Stars, and this year I have its ink-and-paper version clutched in my hand, here to have its picture taken in the place where so much of it was created. Although the book is set in the marshlands of Kent, it is also infused with essence of Dorset saltmarsh from writing in this setting.
The word ‘inspirational’ is bandied about a little too freely these days, but being able to sit in perfect comfort (the words ‘Kathy, would you like another coffee?’ have just been said in my ear) in such a beautiful place is surely as genuinely inspirational as it gets.
So here I am, a nice hot coffee at my elbow – and a band of redshanks trotting about and squabbling in the salty shallows as the tide ebbs just yards away on the other side of the window. Sheer bliss for the comfort-loving, nature-loving writer. I am truly blessed with the ideal place to write.
A beautiful novel created in a beautiful place: ebook available for pre-order, paperback available now myBook.to/WhalesAndStrangeStars
A sea captain passes through the forgotten port of Wych Ferry, and whiles away an hour relating his traveller’s tales to young Rosamund Euden. He tells her that the stars are different, if you sail far enough, that the horizon isn’t quite real, not when you get there; he speaks of sea serpents and whales, and mysterious islands. To an impressionable girl who has never left her home, the whales and strange stars of his stories come to symbolise the great outside world she longs to see. The sea captain moves on, unaware of the dramatic events he has set in action as Rosamund’s search for adventure leads her into a world of dangerous secrets in the marshlands of eighteenth century Kent. Torn between loyalty to her uncles, and her desire to discover what lies beyond the marshes, Rosamund seeks help from an unexpected source. But who can she really trust?
To be published by Crooked Cat Books, 16 January, 2018