Sunday, 23 August 2015

Guest Post - Why I chose beautiful Porthleven in Cornwall for my debut - Recipes For Melissa by Teresa Driscoll - Cornish Week

I was delighted when Teresa Driscoll offered to write something for us, for Cornish Week. So here are Teresa's reasons for choosing Cornwall as a setting for her debut book.

Picking a setting for a novel is a major decision for any author and I clearly remember sitting and drumming my fingers on the desk, thinking,  “where, oh where?”

The early part of the novel is set in Oxfordshire and Cyprus but the most emotional scenes – from Melissa’s past and also the book’s climax – needed somewhere truly magical and nostalgic. Somewhere very, very special…

When the decision finally came to me for these key scenes, I remember a smile broadening across my face. Of course, of course. 

There’s some history, you see.

I moved to Devon to present the local TV news for the BBC a long time ago after  working as a TV reporter in London. What a contrast. I've now lived in Devon for more than 20 years and am passionate about the whole south west region. I worked on BBC Spotlight for 15 years and loved every minute of it.

My work often took me to Cornwall for filming with some dramatic outside broadcasts from beautiful places such as Mousehole. But in my private life I also began to explore the lesser known but equally wonderful Lizard peninsula for family holidays. 

Oh my goodness. Year on year I fell more and more in love with it. Truly magical places such as Porthleven, Cadgwith and Coverack. My two sons grew to love the peninsula  too. It was where they learned to bodyboard. Where we all sat on the beautiful beaches come rain or shine. And so it inevitably came to hold a special place in my heart.

When I began to write Recipes for Melissa I realised that I needed a truly memorable setting for Melissa’s childhood  …a place she  would be drawn back to for the climax of the book.  It would need not only to be super special but a place readers could be convinced the main characters would still cherish later in their lives. Hmmmmm. Suddenly I had this very strong picture of beautiful Porthleven in my head with the fictional scenes playing out in front of me…and very soon I was tap, tapping away, with that big smile across my face!

Quite apart from anything else, the decision to feature Porthleven gave me the perfect excuse to revisit…strictly for research, you understand. Here’s a picture of me doing just that, along with a favourite sunset (above). 

What’s not to love…

Thank you so much Teresa for that fabulous insight as to why you chose to feature Porthleven in Recipes of Melissa. It sounds like a wonderful place, and one I will definitely try and visit next time I'm in Cornwall.

Recipes for Melissa

Melissa Dance was eight years old when her mother died. They never got to say goodbye. 

Seventeen years later, Melissa is handed a journal. As she smooths open the pages and begins to read her mother’s words, she is instantly transported back to her childhood. 

But returning to her past is painful and memories of her mother’s beautiful face are a cruel reminder to Melissa that she’ll never see her again.
As Melissa slowly makes her way through the precious book, reading the snippets of advice and cooking the dishes from the recipes she is also shocked to learn of her mother’s secrets – secrets that if shared, could change Melissa’s world forever. 
Recipes for Melissa by Teresa Driscoll is published by Bookouture and is available on Amazon UK

Author Bio

Teresa Driscoll is a journalist and author with 25 years' experience across newspapers, magazines and television. After training as a newspaper reporter, she joined Thames TV for five years before 15 years as the anchor of the BBC's south west regional TV news programme Spotlight.

Teresa's debut novel RECIPES FOR MELISSA was auctioned at the Frankfurt book fair between seven German publishers and has since sold in seven countries. As well as the UK and Germany, it is to be published in Brazil, Israel, the Czech Republic, Korea and Portugal.

Teresa  lives in glorious Devon with her husband and two sons

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