It’s The Secret Seaside Escape Publication Day! by Heidi Swain
Publication days are always exciting, but especially so when I am whisking us off to somewhere brand new. I know lots of you have journeyed with me to Wynbridge and Wynthorpe Hall, Nightingale Square and the Grow-Well garden in Prosperous Place, but when I started planning this summer title, I couldn’t settle in either the country or the town and a result, the wonderful seaside village of Wynmouth was born!
The perfect setting always plays a huge part in my books and The Secret Seaside Escape is no exception. I consider myself most fortunate to have grown up around East Anglia and to have spent many a halcyon holiday on, in and around the beautiful Norfolk coast. And therefore, when it came to looking for inspiration to build the village of Wynmouth, I had plenty of pretty places and fond recollections to draw on.
I have such happy memories of spending time at the funfair in Hunstanton as a child and admiring the fascinating rock formations in the cliffs as well as exploring the rockpools a little further afield. One such memory, of time there alone with my darling Dad (to whom the book is dedicated), became the inspiration for Tess’s own recollections and when writing her time on the beach in Wynmouth I felt very much as though I was writing from the heart. Sunny Hunny, as it is locally known, might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it ticked all the boxes when I was growing up.
Cromer, although always blustery is another favourite seaside spot. There’s the pier to walk along and seafood caught fresh that morning to enjoy eating (cockles and vinegar for me please). Did you know Cromer is famous for its crabs? Then there’s the fabulous fish and salty chips, ice creams in abundance and of course the bookshop. A trip to Cromer wouldn’t be complete without at least an hour browsing and one paperback purchase!
Blakeney is another beautiful place to stop. Here you can take a boat trip to observe the seal colony, bait a gillie line to go crabbing or watch the many species of birds at the National Nature Reserve. Waxham and Sea Palling are lovely too, providing solitude, peace and tranquillity while the Pleasure Beach at Great Yarmouth provides thrills and spills by the bucketful.
My favourite Norfolk coastal spot by far however, is Wells-next-the-sea. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t familiar with the layout of the town, the quayside and the walk down to the beautiful sandy beach, the beach huts on stilts and the wander back through the Pinewoods.
There used to be – and possibly still is – a car boot sale in Wells on bank holiday weekends. I would always buy books, embroidered brooches, and once a Conway Stewart fountain pen still in its original box (and which features in Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells). Grandad Herb would take forever deciding if he wanted some tool or agricultural relic from years gone by. He would debate over whether or not to buy the coveted item all day only to go back to find the treasure already gone. This became the cause of much eye rolling from my nanna and mum. A trip to Wells wouldn’t have been complete without him missing out on paying pennies for something he didn’t need. Very happy days indeed!
One of the questions I am most asked at author events is ‘where do you get your ideas for your lovely settings from?’ Having now written this little post to celebrate The Secret Seaside Escape publication day the answer would have to be, as far as Wynmouth is concerned – I get my ideas from my memories and the time spent in the beautiful coastal landscape I am lucky to enough to have just up the road.
Love Heidi xx