Cressida McLaughlin on Cornwall
Cornish authors revealing their love of Britain’s most romantic corner.
Maid in Cornwall – Even today, wherever you go in Cornwall you will hear people being called maids or lovers. It always makes me smile when my local fishmonger, a fabulous woman called Kim, calls me her lover. Then there’s the chap who fixes my car calls me a maid. I am neither his maid nor her lover but they are terms of friendliness and very Cornish. So I would like to introduce you to a few more lovers and maids.
I am delighted to bring you a series of interview with Cornish authors this autumn. All the authors have two things in common, they write gorgeous stories set in Cornwall and they love Cornwall. This has been such a fun thing to do and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Here is the wonderful Cressida, who loves coffee, champagne, Henry Cavil and Norfolk. I think I may have found my doppelganger…
I am the author of uplifting, romantic books including The Canal Boat Café, The House of Birds and Butterflies and The Cornish Cream Tea series.
I grew up in London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. I studied English at the University of East Anglia, and now live in Norwich with my husband David.
When I’m not daydreaming about my books, other people’s books or romantic heroes in general, I love exploring the windswept Norfolk coastline or returning to my home city of London. I’m a huge fan of ghost stories, coffee, champagne and Henry Cavill.
What’s your connection to Cornwall?
I hadn’t been to Cornwall until Poldark aired on the BBC back in 2015. I was completely captivated, by the landscape as much as the story, and knew I had to go and visit. Since then, I’ve been there once or twice every year, and I love it more every time I go. I knew I needed to write at least one story set there, and The Cornish Cream Tea Bus was born.
What is your first Cornish memory?
I remember getting to the pub we were staying in in Padstow, the first time we visited, and driving into the car park. It was high up on a hill, and the whole of the Padstow harbour was laid out below us, the sand golden in the sunshine. It was so breathtaking, and we’d only got to the car park! Then, once we’d unpacked, we sat outside on one of the pub benches and had a drink while Padstow hummed around us. We people watched, spoke to the owner of a beautiful Cavapoo, and excitement thrummed through me. It was the perfect start to a lovely holiday.
I’m not even going to ask you if you are #jamfirst but what’s your favourite Cornish treat?
I love all the fresh fish in Cornwall, and my favourite treat is scallops at Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop, along with a glass of prosecco.
North coast or south coast?
It has to be the North coast. I love how wild it is, love all the hidden coves and beaches like Porthcothan, and we usually stay near Portreath, which is another favourite place of mine. I also love the St Agnes coastline, and places like Tintagel.
Care to share an image of Cornwall that you love?
People tend to forget how stunning Cornwall is, away from the beaches. Where is your favourite inland spot?
I know it goes down to the Helford river, but my favourite non beach spot is Trebah Garden. It’s so beautiful, so full of unusual plants, with bursts of colour in every season, and I could spend hours wandering its paths and hidden corners. It’s a haven of peace and tranquility that I’m very happy getting lost in.
What do you think gives Cornwall such a different vibe?
It feels like an island, this separate place right at the end of the country; the towns and villages are beautiful, buzzy and vibrant with lots of independent shops, cafés and restaurants, and then it has these completely secluded beaches, little pockets of the most beautiful blue water and golden sand, that feel completely untouched – and there’s the coastline that, in certain places, stretches for miles in either direction, and feels wild and dangerous despite its beauty. You can go from vibrant town to quiet beach to roaring coastline, and they’re all unique.
What does a normal day look like to you?
I like starting in my office early, so after breakfast I’ll take coffee up there and try and write, or edit – whatever stage I’m at – for the whole morning, and sometimes after lunch too. I usually reserve the afternoons for admin and marketing: blog posts and Q&As, or reading. It’s so nice being able to manage my own time, and when I’m writing a first draft I usually write quite quickly, and then spend ages polishing and perfecting it afterwards. If I need a break, I’ll take a morning or an afternoon to go up to the coast – Norfolk is very different from Cornwall, but just as beautiful – and that blows away any cobwebs and helps me press the reset button.
What is your favourite book set in Cornwall?
I absolutely love The Farm at the edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan. It paints Cornwall so beautifully, and it’s engrossing, uplifting and heartbreaking. I will always remember finishing it late at night, tears tracking down my face and making my pillow soggy while I tried not to openly sob and wake my husband. It is a wonderful book.
What Cornish fact do you wish was better known?
I don’t really have a fact I wish was better known, but I love ghosts and spooky things, and Cornwall is full of supposed hauntings and mysteries that are endlessly fascinating: there are Piskies, the legends surrounding Tintagel and Jamaica Inn. I could spend hours reading about the ghosts of Cornwall, and then visiting all the places mentioned.
Thank you Cressida!
If you want to read more of Cressida’s books then dive into the Cornish Cream Tea Christmas. We could all do with something to look forward to.
‘Captivating’ Heat Magazine
‘Beautiful… heartwarming’ Zara Stoneley
‘A wonderful ray of reading sunshine’ Heidi Swain
Hannah Swan is looking forward to Christmas for the first time in years. Not only have her squabbling family called a truce for once, her new job as an eco-consultant is taking her – and her geeky colleague, Noah – to the beautiful Cornish village of Porthgolow for the first time.
They’re are helping the Crystal Waters Hotel to ramp up its green credentials, though after a bumpy journey, Hannah can’t shake off the feeling that Porthgolow is strangely familiar…
Is Hannah about to get a lot more than she bargained for?
Find out more about Cressida’s other titles.
The Cornish Cream Tea Bus.
The Cornish Cream Tea Summer.
The Cornish Cream Tea Christmas.
And track her down online
Non- Cornish titles
A Christmas Tail – The Primrose Terrace series
The Canal Boat Café
The Canal Boat Café Christmas
The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse
The House of Birds and Butterflies
If you have enjoyed this interview you’ll probably like these ones as well
- discover her connection to The Lord of the Rings
- top tips for writers bottoms!
- Discover all her other pen names!
- Clotted cream and pasties? Bring it on!
And you might also enjoy my book Cornish Dreams in Cockleshell Cottage
Sitting alongside the beach and just up from the gently lapping waves, sat a perfect cottage. She had found where she was going to live. Her own little cockleshell cove.
Ever since the Byrne sisters – Ariana, Aster, Clem, Paddy and Nic – discovered they were heiresses to the vast Hiverton fortune, their lives have never been the same. No longer living in poverty in London, they now own an estate in Norfolk, a castle in Scotland and a picturesque village in Cornwall.
When sensitive Paddy, the baby of the family despite her successful career as a model, swaps the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week for the cobbled lanes of Tregisky on the beautiful Cornish coast, it’s time for her to stand on her own two feet.
Soon, she’s settled in her new home of Cockleshell Cottage overlooking the wild surf, the seals her closest companions.
And when she meets ex-soldier Hal, she’s instantly smitten. Funny, considerate, and not to mention drop dead gorgeous, he’s perfect in every way apart from one – he’s engaged. But after a misunderstanding brings the two together in ways they couldn’t have imagined, it seems like they might just change each other’s lives.
Will Paddy fall in love with more than just the glorious blue skies of Cornwall? Or are there storm clouds gathering ahead?
Escape to the Cornish coast this summer with this completely uplifting romcom – perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Phillipa Ashley and Milly Johnson.
Readers are falling in love with Cockleshell Cottage…
‘had such a delightful rom-com feel…loved every minute of reading this book. I highly recommend it.’ ☆☆☆☆☆ Reader Review
Liz Hurley as well as being the owner of this blog, runs a bookshop in Cornwall, right by the sea and writes books. You can buy them in her shop (of course), Waterstones and other outlets, as well as Amazon.
When she’s not reading, she’s writing and when she’s not writing, she’s walking. And when she’s not doing any of that she’s binging on box sets and sleeping.
This website is for her fictional works. Her Cornish non-fiction titles and walking guides can be found at https://www.cornishwalks.com