Cornwall, Somerset and The End

I haven’t posted on here for ages, mainly because I’ve been eyeballs-deep in my new book.  I’ve been dreaming up complicated situations for my heroine and hero to get into, creating a supporting cast of loveable/amusing/annoying characters, and imagining beautiful settings they can visit.  I wrote those two, blissful words this morning: The End.  So now the first draft is done, and the hard work starts.  I am itching to say more about this book, and I should hopefully be able to fairly soon!

This is my first week back at my desk after a couple of weeks away.  At the beginning of October, David and I went to Cornwall for a week’s holiday.  We hadn’t been at this time of year before, and apart from a couple of very windy days and one that was a continuous downpour, forcing us to stay inside and read, (what a shame), we had gorgeous weather.

Hayles Beach, spreading out forever in the sunshine – and what great clouds!

Highlights were the lovely Trebah Gardens, a wonderful garden set in a valley, full of beautiful and exotic plants that thrive on the climate; Hayles beaches, which goes on for miles (and reminded me of 75 mile beach on Fraser Island in Australia), and watching the sun set over the sea while eating Rick Stein’s fish and chips.  I didn’t type a word in anger, though I did do lots of thinking and plotting and soaking up of scenery.

Watching the sun set over the brilliantly named Booby’s Bay

Then followed a week at Book Camp, a writing retreat organised by Cesca Major, that is a perfect mix of writing time and socialising with other authors, picking brains and supporting each other, with delicious meals and a hot tub thrown in for good measure.  It’s in Somerset, so the surroundings aren’t exactly horrible, either.  I wrote 30,000 words that week, got very close to the end of my first draft, and spent time in the company of some lovely authors who I admire greatly.

Book Camp sunrise – what an artistic tree!

After those two wonderful weeks I am back at home, in my cosy office, and I have just reached The End – always an auspicious moment.

Because I am a dedicated book nerd and can’t help it, I also want to share some fantastic books I’ve read recently.  I think they probably need their own blog post, but I want to mention a couple very quickly.  The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox is tense, creepy and beautifully romantic – also perfect for this time of year (and as I write, 99p on Kindle) – and The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare is a very adult version of Beauty and the Beast, and had me completely captivated.

This has nothing to do with The Haunting of Hill House, but is me at Trebah Gardens, enjoying the October sunshine.

And finally, because this definitely deserves a mention, since I’ve been home we have binge-watched The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.  It is so good.  It is inspired by, but not based on, Shirley Jackson’s classic novel.  It is terrifying, so be warned, but is also a brilliant portrayal of a family torn apart by tragic circumstances, and how the grief and the mystery of that event affects them over the years.  Everything about it is wonderful – the acting, directing, the non-linear timeline, the sets and the music and the ghosts.  I screamed, I sobbed (a lot) and at the end I felt utterly ruined but also redeemed by it.  If you want something for Halloween that is spooky, but also so much more than spooky, then I’d highly recommend it.

I’m going to try and do a post next week of my top Halloween reads, (I am determined to be better at updating and sharing things on here), but until then, have a lovely weekend and happy reading!

Cressy xx

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