Author Jane Cable took the time to chat to me about her writing process, as part of the Cornish Reading Challenge.
Born and brought up in Cardiff, Jane Cable now lives on the Sussex-Hampshire border with her husband, but travels to Cornwall just as often as she can. In 2011, her debut novel, The Cheesemaker’s House, won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. Her second book, The Faerie Tree, was published independently through Matador in March 2015.
Although Cornwall isn’t the main setting for The Faerie Tree, a fair amount of the story does happen around the Newquay surf scene.
I needed a place where an adult runaway could turn up and blend in and it fitted the plot perfectly. Newquay is always the place I’ll associate most with surfing, despite having a massive love for Porthtowan. I first got on (and fell off – several hundred times) a surf board in Watergate Bay and I bought my first bodyboard in Newquay itself. I didn’t once imagine at the time that the shop would become part of a novel, but it has.
Cable’s absolute favourite place in Cornwall is Porthtowan:
It’s a slightly scruffy but very real surf village on the north coast near St Agnes. It’s the fact that although it’s pretty dependant on tourism it’s still a genuine community that appeals to me – it’s a very easy place to get to know people. My husband and I joke that we have to travel hundreds of miles to get to our local, The Victory Inn at nearby Towan Cross, which is probably the friendliest pub on the planet.
Cable has a strong connection to Cornwall, and would love to write a book completely set there.
I’m sure it will happen – for a start I’m fascinated by the ghostly possibilities of the tin mining industry but will need to do a lot of research first. I have a family connection because my grandmother’s maiden name was Cornish and I believe her forebears came from Cornwall to South Wales as pit sinkers.
She’s currently working on a new novel set in Dorset, with the working title of The Seahorse Summer.
It’s the tale of a mother and son who are haunted by a wartime tragedy that happened sixty years before. Sometimes historical imperative will drive a choice of location.
For fun you can write anything you want in any way you like, but the game changes completely when you expect someone else to pay for what you’ve written. You have to be as good an editor as you are a writer – and preferably use a professional editor too, just to help you to see the wood from the trees. In my view a significant number of independently published books which have fantastic stories are littered with so many grammatical errors it’s almost impossible to read them and that’s a real shame.
Cable is currently working with a local charity in Chichester on a project related to The Faerie Tree that will also help them raise some funds.
But nothing’s finalised yet. The only firm event in my diary is a panel discussion on independent publishing organised by Chindi (Chichester Independent Authors) as part of the Chichester Festival in June.
She’s currently reading ‘The 7.52 to London Bridge’, a collection of hilarious biographical short stories by Julian Kirkman-Page.
It’s really clever in that it goes from laugh out loud to chilling within a matter of pages – and it takes a talented writer to pull that one off.
This or That
Seaside or countryside?
Seaside. It’s my dream to live within walking distance of a beach so I can just toddle down and swim whenever I like without worrying where to put the car keys while I’m in the water. Cornwall is perfect for that.
Ice cream or pasty?
Depends on the pasty. I love ice cream but a proper Cornish pasty from somewhere like the Chough Bakery in Padstow or Ferrells in St Ives is hard to resist.
Sunshine or rain?
Sunshine. Everyone’s so much more cheerful.
E-book or paperback?
I’m in transition. E-books are great for holidays but I still love the feel – and smell – of a proper book in my hands.
Tea of coffee?
Coffee first thing then tea for the rest of the day. A good strong cup you could stand a spoon up in.
To read her recommendations for the Cornish Reading Challenge, click here.
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