Welcome back to #TalkoftheTown, a weekly link-up I am co-hosting with Shaz from Jera’s Jamboree. We’d love you to share your book related blog posts with us. Please visit my Talk of the Town page if you are unsure of how a link-up works. We are looking forward to reading your blog posts.
I am so pleased to be welcoming Laura Briggs to the blog today. Laura’s Christmas release, A Christmas in Cornwall, is out now. Laura has kindly written a guest post about Cornwall for my blog readers. Cornwall is somewhere I always wanted to visit, but have never gotten round to doing so. Oh well, one day for sure!
Five Things I Learned (and Love) About Cornwall
(Guest Post by Laura Briggs)
I love England. And I love Cornwall. Sadly, however, I’ve only been to England once (on a school trip, actually), and wasn’t lucky enough to visit Cornwall during my stay. So when I began writing about it in A WEDDING IN CORNWALL, I realized all my knowledge of it came from ‘Doc Martin’ and the hit series ‘Poldark’! So I did a little … then a lot more …research while writing, and learned more about one of England’s most beautiful and most unique counties, full of culture and history. So here are five of the ‘fun facts’ I learned that found their way into A WEDDING IN CORNWALL, A CHRISTMAS IN CORNWALL, and the upcoming third book A COTTAGE IN CORNWALL.
#5 Heath — One of Cornwall’s Native Plants
Heath is as quintessentially English as the moors … but I had always pictured it in THE SECRET GARDEN’s Yorkshire world, and never knew that it was one of Cornwall’s native, rugged flora, nor that it was protected. But I learned all this and more when I wrote the first cliffside encounter between Julianne and Matt. Cornwall is full of beautiful wildflowers, so choosing a plant was hard, but I chose heath because it seemed like such a perfect representation of Cornwall’s character. And, maybe, a little bit perfect as a representation of Julianne herself!
#4 The Cliffs
The coasts of Cornwall are breathtaking. Even if you’ve only seen pictures, like I have, the beauty of its shores can really be mind-blowing. Until I began this book, I had only a vague idea (Doc Martin, remember?) so much of A WEDDING IN CORNWALL’s coastal beauty was originally inspired by other parts of England…but when I began visiting blogs and websites by Cornwall’s natives and visitors, the Cornish reality began to take form in my head. The view of the shore and the sea factors into every story somehow, and feels almost like another story character to me now. I even named the manor house in honor of it, in fact (the original name — that’s another story).
Meat pies are a Cornish specialty, and residents have very decided opinions on what constitutes a quality ‘oggie,’ I learned! I tried to describe their favorite tradition as best I could when writing the scene in Charlotte’s shop, and it definitely made my mouth water as much as Julianne’s did. The only thing better than reading Cornish opinions on English pasties is watching pasties being cooked on The Great British Bake Off.
#2 The Cornish Tongue
Ah, Cornish! Not an easy language, as I learned from a little research. It has ties to other languages — it has spelling difficulties that make one’s head spin and pronunciations that my American tongue simply can’t attempt. But I made my best attempt to include a little of it in the story because Cornwall just isn’t the same without its language, as I’ve come to understand. Village names come from it, boats and landmarks are called by its tongue, and local phrases and slang are derived from it. In A WEDDING IN CORNWALL, the village name is taken from two common Cornish/Old Welsh words (the spelling is a little imperfect, as I’ve since learned!) Julianne and Matt visit the famous Lowarth Helegan gardens, whose name means ‘Willow Tree,’ and even Rosemoor Cottage has a reference point in Cornish.
It’s a running joke in the story — Julianne’s confusion over the traditional Cornish evening of music and dance, which comes up yet again in A CHRISTMAS IN CORNWALL. To me, a troyl seems like the Cornish version of an Irish ceili, although I’ve also learned that it served as a traditional festival or celebration at the end of the fishing season in different parts of Cornwall. And you even sense a little kinship with Scotland in the fact that kilts are sometimes worn by the men (hence Julianne’s blush over indulging in a little mental picture of Matt in attendance).
From the ‘Lizard’ to the flavor saffron, I’ve learned far more about Cornwall than the ‘fun facts’ I just named from the first book…and what I’ve learned since then found its way into the Christmas sequel, and into the third book I’m releasing in January (where I learned a little more about a famous Cornish tourist spot, and about springtime in Cornwall). I hope the world they helped create will help readers escape to a little part of Cornwall, even if they’re as far away from it as I am!
Laura Briggs’ first stories were written in crayon about a rooster named Henry–but she was pretty young at the time, so it’s understandable. She eventually graduated to writing more complex plot lines and characters and writing her stories on a laptop. She tends to write stories with a romance theme, but as a reader she has a soft spot for mysteries, including those by Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. She also enjoys books by Jane Austen, Anne Tyler, Amy Tan, and too many others to name. In her free time, she likes to experiment with new recipes and tries to landscape her yard (a never-ending project).
Author Website: http://paperdollwrites.blogspot.com/
Twitter Account: http://bit.ly/1ME9ivJ
Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1JjeMoI
Thank you so much for visiting today, Laura.
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