Author Jenny Colgan reveals how Cornwall kick starts her creativity

St Michaels Mount | Marazion | Cornwall

#‎FreebieFriday‬ Win a Kindle, book and deluxe Cornish hamper for your summer hols! Fab author Jenny Colgan reveals that St Michael's Mount is the magical place that inspired the setting of her latest novel 'Little Beach Street Bakery'. Tell us where your magical place is in ‪#‎Cornwall‬ and why; we will pick one lucky winner and 10 runners up who will all receive a copy of the book. Comment in the Facebook box below.  

To me it is like a version of Narnia...

Cornwall to me is a place of the imagination as much as a real home to lots of people, because I spent so much time there as a child.

To me, it is like a version of Narnia or any of the other imaginary lands I used to visit – I was absolutely obsessed with Over Sea, Under Stone, and of course the Famous Five and Malory Towers.

We used to stay in old tin miners’ cottages near Polperro. My mother was a great Daphne du Maurier fan, and she used to put me and my two brothers to sleep in the little narrow beds and tell us bloodcurdling stories of shipwrecks and pirates and gold and wreckers and we would be utterly thrilled and chilled and one of us, probably my littlest brother (although he would probably say me) would be up half the night with nightmares. 

I am writing this in early August in Perthshire. For a Scot, Autumn and August have always been synonymous, as Scottish schoolchildren take their holidays in June and July; August is a time for new pencil cases and grey cardigans and getting cosy. As I drove up here this morning – and I will tell you, it is very very beautiful here too; the heavy grey clouds are sinking down over the top of the Trossachs – the man on the radio said, 'And today it's going to be a great day, with highs of 16!'

Cornwall was always a tropical paradise to me...

So you can understand how Cornwall was always a tropical paradise to me, as I‘d never been abroad: long hot sunny days on Polperro beach, which my mother favoured as they let you have your tea in proper china cups on a little tray, as she read her big clumpy Stephen King novels, which we were forbidden to touch on pain of even more nightmares.

Every year, we were bought as a special treat those big foam body surf boards and we would get into the water first thing in the morning and body surf body surf body surf until physically hauled out, sunburnt along the crossed strap lines of my swimming costume, to eat a sandy sandwich wrapped in clearseal. 

Later my dad would barbecue fish over the little home-built barbie he constructed every year from bricks and a grill, and I would sit in the high sweet grass and read, and get bitten by insects. 

And after that, because you get to stay up very late on your holidays, we'd drive down to Mousehole or St Ives: strolling along the harbour walk looking at the art galleries, we’d eat ice cream or hot salty fried potatoes, or fudge, the flavours of which I was constantly obsessed with, even though fudge invariably makes me feel sick. 

I remember being gripped and fascinated by the old stone road disappearing under the waves...

They were blissful times, and it was such a joy to revisit them when I started writing my Mount Polbearne series, the first of which is Little Beach Street Bakery. We went on a day trip – as required by law, I think, of anyone visiting Cornwall – to St Michael's Mount and I remember being gripped and fascinated by the old stone road disappearing under the waves. It was the most romantic and magical thing I could possibly imagine, and it has been such a joy setting my books there. If I can convey even a fraction of the happiness Cornwall has brought to me in my life through my books, well, I'll be absolutely delighted.  Jenny. 

Find out more about Jenny Colgan and Little Beach Street Bakery here.

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