Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Angela Britnell gushes about Cornwall, England

Today I'm indulging us all by talking about my favorite place on earth so make a pot of tea, put up your feet, and enjoy. IT'S COMPLICATED is set mainly in Cornwall where I was born and grew up. For those who don't know Cornwall is in the far south west of England. In other words if you head down from London eventually you'll reach Land's End and could potentially fall off into the sea!

It's one of the Celtic nations with its own flag, language and culture, now in a period of revival. With its 300 plus miles of rugged coastline, unique culture and mild climate it's a tourist's dream plus a writer's one. It's hard not to be inspired and most of my stories have their roots in Cornwall. It is remote from the rest of the country, barely joined on to England at the Tamar River so I often use it as an escape valve for my characters. Maybe they need to get away from something or someone or make a fresh start - it's perfect for any of these plot twists.

Of course I'm far from the first - and certainly not the most famous - to use Cornwall in this way. Rosamunde Pilcher, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Wesley and Winston Graham (check out his great Poldark series, set in the tin mining area of Cornwall) are a few authors who've written about Cornwall. The latest big name to fall under the spell is the one and only J.K. Rowling, who set part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows there. But for me the writer who forever captured the essence of Cornwall is Daphne du Maurier. In her famous book Rebecca she used her Cornish house at Menabilly as the basis for Manderley. Jamaica Inn was set on Bodmin moor, where I've set the fictional village of St.Minton in IT'S COMPLICATED. Her short story The Birds, made into the cult Hitchcock thriller, is another Cornish story. Apart from a lot of writers, Cornwall has stimulated many artists' imagination especially painters, lured by its unique light.

If this doesn't tempt you to beat a path to Cornwall there's always the food! Local seafood caught that day, scones and Cornish cream, saffron buns and locally brewed beer are all worth a taste. But the highlight - and the reason my hips will never be slender - are the Cornish pasties. These hand held pies were especially popular with nineteenth century tin miners as a portable lunch to take with them to work. Every good Cornishwoman, and many men, has their own recipe. Traditionally they're a flaky pie crust filled with beef, potato, onion and turnip (rutabaga to all the Americans reading this). Just writing this is making me hungry so I'll have to go now, make some pasties and eat one straight from the oven, maybe even two . The craving never goes away exactly the same as my craving for Cornwall, the land and its people.

Find Angela at:

'Opposites Attract' available now from www.desertbreezepublishing.com


  1. I hope I've done a good job for the Cornish Tourism Board here and you'll all be booking your tickets to visit soon!

  2. The saffron buns were my favourite. Lovely post Angela, makes me homesick for Devon. If you love Daphne du Maurier try The Loving Spirit, it's also set in Cornwall and is a wonderful book.

    1. Oh goodness you've made me want one with a cup of tea right now despite the fact it's nearly 100 degrees here in Nashville! I must try the book you mentioned it's not one I'm familiar with. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Excellent post. So when are you going to start writing travel guides for Fodor's?...I'm so happy Cornwall loaned you to Tennessee for a few years!

  4. Whenever they pay me enough? Thanks for the kind comments and I'm happy to be here too!

  5. I spent a week in St Agnes years ago, did cliff walks and toured the county, and loved every minute. My upcoming DBP release, The Healing Tree, is set in north Cornwall.

    How can I get homesick for a place that's not my home?

  6. I once began an historical set in Cornwall, so much history to tempt me off track I never narrowed it down.

    I've got the perfect contest for you to use: have the prize be a dry mix of scone ingredients you make up. Not pasties though, too much Sweeney Todd haunting my brain for them.