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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Guest Post: Sun, sea and surf by Liz Kessler

Today I have the great pleasure of sharing with you a guest post from Liz Kessler as part of her blog tour for her new novel A Year Without Autumn. Even the title is beautiful!

Sun, sea and surf
by Liz Kessler

When my first book was published, I was living on a narrowboat on the Macclesfield Canal. The Tail of Emily Windsnap was the first of my series about a girl who accidentally finds out in a school swimming lesson that when she goes in water, she becomes a mermaid. So when people asked where I got my ideas to write about mermaids, I happily told them that living on a boat on the water gave me lots of inspiration.

Then one day, someone pointed out that most of the UK’s canals are quite dirty, and not likely to be the type of places where beautiful shimmery mermaids were to be found. Which only meant one thing: I’d have to move!

And that is how I ended up in St Ives.

No, not really. But the truth isn’t that far off. I’ve always loved the sea, and I’ve always loved boats. So writing about mermaids was always going to be on the agenda. For me, mermaids represent the possibilities that are out there, teasing the edges of our imagination. I love the fact that the sea covers over 70% of our planet, and yet we hardly know anything about it! And so, although no one can prove that mermaids exist – no one can prove that they don’t. And it’s that grey area of exciting question marks in the middle that excites me.

But it’s not just about the mermaids. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in a seaside town, or because my zodiac sign is cancer the crab, or maybe I spent too much time in the paddling pool as a child – but being by the sea just makes me feel more alive.

So when a year’s travelling in a campervan led to St Ives in Cornwall, it didn’t take long for me to realise that I had found my new home. I don’t think anyone would take much convincing about how beautiful it is here. You just need to look at a couple of pics.

Living by the sea makes me feel as if I can breathe more easily. Looking out at a vast ocean where the next stop is thousands of miles away, it makes me feel connected to a wider world.

Walking along the coast path with my dog, spotting seals or even dolphins in the bay, makes my heart feel uplifted and calm at the same time. And it is the MOST inspiring place in the world to sit staring into space, getting ideas for your next book.

And in the summer, body boarding and surfing on beautiful waves – well, apart from writing, that is the best feeling in the world.

Who knows, perhaps I’m secretly a bit of a mermaid myself…

A Year Without Autumn is out now in hardback, published by Orion. Thanks so much for sharing your love of the sea with us Liz. I always think of the sea as a place of rejuvenation. It is my favourite place to go and pause and reflect on the beauty of life.
Find out more about the lovely Liz at her blog: http://lizkessler.blogspot.com/
and to find out more about her novels, check out her website: http://www.lizkessler.co.uk/


Asamum said...

I love the seaside - fantastic guest post and what fab pictures. Thanks for sharing :D

Rie Conley said...

I haven't been to the sea for years, but I've always had an obsession with mermaids. I can't wait to read A Year Without Autumn.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

What a great guest post! Cornwall is such a mythical county and its Celtic past definitely contributes to that. I can imagine that the author feels very inspired in St Ives.

Cliona said...

I want to go to Cornwall some day... It looks so beautiful. I live by the seaside, but the beach isn't a nice one! : ( Great post!

Vivienne said...

That is exactly why I live by the sea. It does make you feel like you can breathe more easily. There is nothing better than waking up to the sound of seagulls.

Phanee said...

Those photos are so lovely! Especially the first one! It's so pretty, it looks fake!
I live by the sea too. On an island in Greece! Though it might not be one of the nicest places to live, we do have some wonderful beaches. Funnily enough, we don't get many seagulls. Or, at least, you can't hear them...

Lovely guest post! I've walked along part of the Macclesfield Canal quite a few times and it always strikes me how peaceful it is and how lovely the people who own the barges are! It must have been quite an experience, actually living on the canal! I'm looking forward to reading A Year Without Autumn (hopefully sooner rather than later!).

Clover said...

Oh what an absolutely gorgeous post! I really love the sea as well. Back in America, we lived just over an hour away from the Pacific Ocean and honestly, I miss it so much sometimes that I ache. Our family would drive up and down the coastline three or four times a year every year and I feel like it's part of me now.