Muddy Meets: Liz Hurley, Author
Best-selling local author and bookshop owner Liz Hurley shares her insider secrets and tells us more about her new book.
Liz Hurley, from St Austell, is one of 6 finalists in the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award category at the Romantic Novel Awards, with her novel A New Life for Ariana Byrne, published by Hera Books. She owns her own bookshop, ten yards from the sea in Mevagissey.
Tell us about your new book?
Heroine Ariana Byrne is stuck in a loveless marriage, struggling to find ways to make ends meet for her twins. So it’s a shock when she is named the Right Honourable Lady de Foix, Countess of Hiverton, owner of a sprawling estate in Saxburgh, Norfolk. Ari knows how to take care of her children, but how on earth can she take care of an entire village? Can she fight off the circling land developers from Saxburgh, and stop her in-laws from grabbing all the money for themselves?
And while she’s struggling to settle in and settle down, she’s making new friends and new mistakes. Trusting her gorgeous neighbour, Sebastian Flint-Hyssop, may be the biggest one of all. She’s swapped a sink estate for country estate, but can a girl from inner city London ever learn how to become a Lady?
What’s your favourite place in Cornwall?
There’s a beach that is an absolutely nightmare to drive to, so I shan’t mention it but it’s practically where we brought the children up. After school we would head down for a barbeque and a swim before bedtime. Homework would sometimes be a bit sandy. We would play cricket with friends, swim in the massive rockpools, camp under the stars and play ball with the dogs. In winter we watch the waves crash in and in summer it is never too busy. It is a proper heaven on earth.
What’s your writing set up like – where do you do your work (and has this changed with lockdown)?
I don’t have my own study so I would write at the kitchen table or at the counter at work or in one of the boys’ bedroom. However a year of lockdowns has meant that the boys have been home from uni and our bookshop has been closed, so my husband is also working from home. This means I get shunted from pillar to post and it’s doing my head in. However, it won’t be forever.
Why do you think people love any kind of Cornish connection – what is it about Cornwall that is so special / engaging?
Cornwall is “away”. It’s a long journey to get here and it has a very different vibe to it. We are practically surrounded by water and there’s a very different sort of atmosphere. We don’t have big cities and shops, our roads tend to go nowhere quite slowly and you just have to change your mental gears when you get here. I think a lot of people really relish that.
Where do you recommend people head if it’s the first time they’re coming to Cornwall?
I send them up to the moors. Everyone knows the beaches but the moors are where you can achieve a real sense of wonder. I love to think that when the beaches are heaving you can be up on one of the moors and not see another soul, just you some wild ponies and the skylarks.
Do you think Cornwall becomes almost an additional character in your books?
Living here makes it an obvious choice for me to write about Cornwall and it’s impossible for it not to become a central character. I think landscape, either rural or city, has an enormous impact on its inhabitants. I find books that don’t dwell on the surroundings, are often missing a major voice. My second book, Cornish Dreams at Cockleshell Cottage, is deeply embedded in the Cornish landscape, warts and all. I think it’s important that readers see what life in Cornwall is really like away from the picture postcard.
We’ve a copy of Liz’s book to give away as one of a set of six romantic novels set in or written in Cornwall – enter here to win the lot!