As you know we love a good cuppa and a cake on this site and well we love a Cornish cream cake in particular so who better to sample the delights of the latest booktrailer bakes, than our lovely friend Liz Fenwick. We think its only right that at Booktrail Towers we try and match the cake to the writer and so Cuppa and a cream cake with Liz Fenwick was born…
Sit yourself down now. Never mind the cat – he’ll soon move….ah there he goes, bless him, he’s a little shy at the moment. Yes he’s new- found him abandoned in an old house sitting amongst the old and empty bookshelves and I thought – do you know what? That’s the cat for Booktrail towers. He hasn’t got a name yet though. Am working on it.
Back to the cakes – are these alright? Take your pick. I’ve got some tupperware so you can take home what we don’t finish. It’s so lovely to see you Liz, I feel as if you’re an old friend having read all of your books but I’ve still got loads of questions to ask you…
You’ve written three great novels set in Cornwall. what is it about the region that you love so much?
It’s the landscape…it just gets right into my soul. Everywhere I turn I ‘see’ stories and they niggle me until I tell them.
Where is your favourite place in Cornwall to visit – maybe have a coffee or write?
My favourite spot to have a drink is the Helford River Sailing Club. The view from the balcony is stunning. It’s so distracting I can’t write there but it does fill the creative’ well’ in me so that I can call upon the view and feel the breeze when I am away from it.
How important do you feel setting is to your novels?
Vital. Without Cornwall the books wouldn’t transport the reader to a special place. In my novels, the setting and the stories are woven together. In A Cornish Affair, Jude falls in love with the place and this opens her heart to let love in. In fact I fell for Cornwall on my first visit and the love affair hasn’t stopped. The setting on Frenchman’s Creek is integral to A Cornish Stranger from the tides to the isolation. The settings are woven through and are almost a character in themselves.
In a Cornish Stranger, your latest novel, you write about the Cornish saying ‘Save a stranger from the sea, he’ll turn your enemy…’ Can you tell us more about this?
I found this phrase when I was doing some research for another book and instantly I stopped in my tracks and thought WOW. That statement goes against all the things you hear about savings someone’s life. The story began to take shape immediately especially the setting. I knew I wanted the book set in the cabin at the mouth of Frenchman’s Creek.
Which other Cornish delights can you tell us about? (things to eat, sayings etc)
I am discovering more about Cornwall all the time. I think the joy of being an outsider is that everything is new…nothing is taken for granted from jam first on your scones with clotted cream to the local beer. The best ‘food’ thing about Cornwall for me is fresh mackerel caught and cooked on the beach within minutes. There is no food like it and before Cornwall I was no fan of mackerel but now when we are here I can’t eat enough.
In A Cornish House, you write such lovely visual prose such as when Maddie enters Trevenen for the first time – “The disturbance caused dust to swirl and a sigh seemed to emerge from the walls.” Do you visualise setting and characters in your head before you write or do they appear as you are writing?
When I’m writing I don’t see the computer screen or the keyboard I see the scene in front of me as if it was a movie or I was just watching it from my character’s view point. I think’s very important to be in your character’s head. For example how Maddie view’s Cornwall is vastly different to her stepdaughter Hannah. They ‘see’ different things. In A Cornish Stranger Jaunty is an old artist who looks at the world in a different way to her 30 year old granddaughter who is musician.
In a Cornish Affair, the underlying mystery and the family history are very enticing. Do you yourself like to read mystery novels? What kind of mysteries do you enjoy? I love Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels and I think that must have been in the back of my mind when I wrote A Cornish Affair. Of course I didn’t realize that when I was writing…that was just what the story required.
Right now for the prize of the last cream cake – Quick fire round –
Cornish pasty or Stargazy pie? Pasty (Phew that pie with the fish sticking out looks a bit strange)
Icecream or cream tea? Ice cream, please ( well we have just eaten a cream tea I guess)
Ideal holiday destination? Cornwall or the Maldives with my whole family for both locations
Which writer, dead or alive, would you like to meet and why?
This is a tough one…do I say the one who gave me the most pleasure over the years or the one I think would be most interesting to chat with… I think it might be Agatha Christie. I have come to her books late ( about five years ago) although I have known the stories from tv for years. I would love to pick her mind on her books and talk to her about her time in the Middle East.
Aah thanks Liz. I really enjoyed our chat. Have a cuppa and relax for a bit. Put your feet up – and have the last cream cake – you’ve earned it hehe
When Liz finishes up here she’ll be heading back over to her home at http://lizfenwick.com/ and of course on Twitter – @liz_fenwick