Novel set in New York (sorry, but I just don’t get it)
Talking Location with author Karen King – Cornwall
9th November 2019
#TalkingLocationWith…. Karen King, author of Single All the Way – Cornwall.
I write romance novels and like to set them in glorious locations as I think this adds to the whole reading experience. Mostly my novels are set in places I have been to and loved, so it’s no coincidence that three of my romance books – Single All The Way, Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel and The Cornish Hotel by the Sea– are set in Cornwall. I’ve always loved Cornwall. Happy memories of the years holidaying in Cornwall when my children were young, then living in Hayle twenty years ago have remained with me.
The quaint fishing villages, picturesque harbours, golden sands, secluded coves and gorgeous landscape makes it ideal for a romantic setting. The first novel I set in Cornwall is The Cornish Hotel by the Sea and this takes place in the summertime, in an area not unlike St Ives, which I often used to visit. As I’m so familiar with the area I didn’t have to do much research.
I often went shopping into Penzance on Saturdays. The view of the harbour as you drive into Penzance is spectacular in the summer, with the sun glistening on the sparkling waters. In winter, huge gusts of wind often rage across the sea, whipping it up into wild waves that lash against the harbour wall. I remember the waves crashing over the wall onto the road, drenching the car windscreen on a few occasions. We’d walk up the hill, along Market Jew Street, going in and out of the various shops, then stopping off at a café to meet friends. The Mazey Day festival, held near the end of June, is always a colourful event. Throngs of people line each side of Market Jew Street, music blasting out as a parade of fantastic costumes and sculptures go by. I remember the huge fantastic serpent at the end, doing its dance along the street, and the stalls of traders with their huge selection of goods and food.
St Ives with its spectacular harbour and beaches, was another favourite of mine. It’s not difficult to see why it’s attracted so many artists over the years and there are numerous art galleries where you can see the artists at work. The many shops dotted about the cobbled streets include craft shops, Cornish pasty shops where you can buy pasties in a variety of flavours as well as the usual souvenir shops. Many a time I’ve sat on a bench overlooking the harbour, eating an ice cream and watching the fishing boats come and go.
Newquay with its surfing beaches and the famous Island bridge, ninety-foot high that connects a house on an island jutting out of the sea to the mainland, was another favourite to visit, also Mousehole and Marazion. You can take the ferry boat from Marazion to visit the picturesque St Michael’s Mount, or walk across the Causeway if the tide is out and explore the village and castle. I did this many times, often walking over then taking the boat back as the tide was usually in by the time I’d climbed up the cobbled path to visit the castle.
My new novel, Single All the Way and Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel are Christmas novels. Christmas in Cornwall is really special, the little villages sparkle with festivity, with the colourful array of fairy lights twinkling in the narrow streets and glistening on the sea in the harbours. There’s a fun Boxing Day tradition that takes part in many towns in Cornwall, where people take part in a swim to raise money for charity. This also happens on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day too. The rules are usually swimsuits or fancy dress, it can be great fun to see the different costumes and watch the participants leaping into the ice-cold water. Meg and Sally in Single All The Way take part in a Boxing Day swim. They also go to visit Tintagel, another favourite of mine, famously steeped in myth and legend, the historical castle ruins perched high above the wild, rugged coastline.
I now live in Spain and it’s been a few years since I last visited Cornwall, but it’s such a beautiful and magical place that the memories will linger forever, and it will always be one of my favourite locations to set my romance novels.
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