Fiction set in USA and EUROPE: the life of Maria Callas
Talking Location With author Liz Fenwick – Cornwall
8th January 2017
As we wind down from Christmas and move into 2017 we are pleased to welcome Liz Fenwick to our feature #TalkingLocationWith… who reflects on Christmas and trips to Cornwall.
I adore research. It is a rabbit hole that I would happily lose myself in and never write a book. So I’ve had to learn to restrict myself with the bare minimum before I begin writing the first draft. As I write I leave XXXX in the spot where I know I need more research. But sometimes with research you don’t even know you are doing it. The case in point is the sleeper train to Cornwall, the Night Riviera. This is a key transport link between London and Cornwall and is a little bit of magic.
I think we’ve all watched films from the past with sleeper trains featured…first one that comes to mind is North by Northwest and then there was a Bond film or the Orient Express. Or thinking of White Christmas. Those all implied a bit of glamour which to be honest doesn’t exist today despite the name of the train.
However there is something special about arriving at Paddington late and finding your train sitting on platform one. Both my husband and I have used to the train both to and from Cornwall. And like all journeys to Cornwall something happens when you cross the Tamar. The Duchy seeps into your brain and the world becomes a little less angsty and the mythic seems normal.
Sadly I’ve lost all my photos of the journeys but The Man in Seat 61 covers all the bases in case you’re thinking of travelling…
So when I began to dig around about why our community in Cornwall sang While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks to a different tune, I discovered how important the Cornish have been to saving what we sing at Christmas. At the time I had just finished writing A Cornish Stranger and a key story thread revolved around music and there was a character called Max. He wasn’t a love interest for my heroine, but I knew he had a broken heart and I had to tell his story.
Putting all these ingredients together I borrowed the plot of Dickens’s Christmas Carol and wrote A Cornish Christmas Carol, a novella, with Abigail Scorrier as Scrooge. The ghosts appear to Abigail on the sleeper train and I had the pleasure of delving into Cornwall singing heritage just a bit. Last year I went to hear the Redruth Singers at Godolphin house. Their wonderful voices blended on the curls and the repeats.
I love Port Isaac Fisherman’s Friends and their rendition of While Shepard’s Watched Their Flocks is beautiful in tune unlike out congregation of Christmas Eve…but maybe we sing it with more gusto… here’s a link from my Pinterest Page to their version…
I love it when I don’t realise I’m doing research…but also love it the other way as in what happened when I began writing The Returning Tide….but that is another story.
For more books to transport you to Cornwall, just click here.