Interview with Liz Fenwick
Join Lost in Books as we interview the popular novelist Liz Fenwick and chat about her life as a writer, hear how Cornwall manages to find itself as a frequent setting for her books, and get a little closer to her latest novel, The Path to the Sea. Without fail, Liz Fenwick always manages to combine her love of the Cornish landscape and a blend of emotional human stories to create compelling novels that readers can easily fall in love with.
Keep reading to find out more about Liz and her books - and discover what inspires her most about living in Cornwall.
Tell us about your latest book, The Path to the Sea, and where your inspiration for the story came from?
It’s the story of three generations of the Trewin women all with secrets and all with their own relationship to Boskenna, their cliffside home. The first inspiration for the story came from a notebook I inherited from my mother-in-law. In it, she had detailed all the dinner parties she had given during the 60s & 70s. This included menus, recipes, guest lists, seating plans and, in some cases, what she wore. It was like a window into another life. I asked my husband about it and he reminisced about waiting by the serving hatch for leftovers of his favourite foods to come back. I suddenly had a 'what if' moment, thinking what if a child saw something that changed their life forever but didn’t understand it at the time. So the story was taking shape in my mind but I didn’t know where to set it. Setting is so important to me and the story can’t take root until I find it. Then I discovered the house used in the film 'About Time', Porthpean House, was for rent. It was the perfect setting to tell the story of Joan, Diana and Lottie.
You have written so many wonderful books set in Cornwall. What excites you most about writing a new book?
With each book it’s different. Sometimes it’s a bit of folklore or history, sometimes it’s the location that I can’t have enough of and of course the characters become very real people to me so I care what happens to them.
You have notably been crowned as the ‘Queen of the Contemporary Cornish Novel’ by The Guardian. How did it feel to get this title?
So honoured! There are many wonderful writers at the moment with books set here and so I was and am grateful and overwhelmed.
You have done several publicity events tied to your books across Cornwall (including here with Lost in Books). What do you enjoy most about these types of events?
I love doing these events because it’s a chance to meet my readers and hopefully find some new ones. One of the things that scared me most at the start was that once a book is published it’s no longer mine. It belongs to the reader and they bring their own lives into the book. My first reaction was ‘no, it’s mine’, but now I love the almost alchemical process that happens between readers and story. I was worried that when I wrote The Path to the Sea that telling the story of Tom Martin as a 36 year old would bother some of my readers who loved him as Old Tom in The Cornish House. Thankfully, no one has complained about seeing younger Tom and, for me, it was a delight to spend time with him again.
Cornwall is often tied to ideas of romance. What do you think there is about this county that makes it so popular for love stories to unfold?
Cornwall is magical … the landscape just captures people the way love captures your heart. It makes an intoxicating mix.
Liz Fenwick is the award winning author of The Cornish House, A Cornish Affair, A Cornish Stranger Sky, Under A Cornish, The Returning Tide, One Cornish Summer, The Path to the Sea and a novella – A Cornish Christmas Carol. After ten international moves, she's a bit of a global nomad. It’s no wonder her heart remains in Cornwall. For more information, you can visit her official website, or you can find her procrastinating over on Twitter or Instagram.
You can order The Path to the Sea or any of Liz's books from us by using our online order form here. Don't forget you can also follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all our latest announcements, updates and book news.