Hope Cove Proves Inspiration for Author Cathy Bramley
The picturesque fishing village of Hope Cove continues to charm and delight all those who visit, including many of our guests who return year-on-year to this beautiful pocket of the South Hams coast. And for one such guest, the barnacled bays and sweeping cliff paths proved so much of an inspiration that she made it the sea salty backdrop for her latest novel A Match Made In Devon.
Best-selling author, Cathy Bramley, well-known for her colourful romantic comedies, was staying in one of Toad Hall’s adorable thatched fisherman’s cottages in ‘Inner Hope’ when the green shoots of her latest plot began to burgeon.
We caught up with Cathy to find out more about her special relationship with Hope Cove, and also, about the story that was conceived there.
An Interview with Cathy Bramley, author of A Match Made In Devon…
Reading into the title of your book, is this essentially a Devonshire love story?
Yes! I came up with it a couple of years ago and instinctively knew it was the perfect title for a love story.
How much inspiration did you draw from your seaside setting at Hope Cove?
I usually create a fictional town or village as the setting for my books. Firstly, so that I don’t upset anyone from any real locations by making mistakes, and secondly, so that if I need a pub, or a shop or a florist etc I can have it! That said, I usually have a real place in mind and for A Match Made In Devon I knew that Hope Cove would provide the perfect backdrop. There is only so much research you can do online, and for me, it’s important to soak up the atmosphere too. So, I booked 2 The Square through Toad Hall Cottages for a few nights, and together my husband and I toured the area, sampling the delights of the Hope and Anchor pub for dinner, crab sandwiches at The Cove Café Bar, and of course, lots of walks across beaches and along the South West Coast Path. I was delighted to find a disused lifeboat house near to Inner Hope, as I had pictured one in my novel too!
Did many of your own personal holiday experiences percolate into the chapters?
No specific incident springs to mind, but a friend of mine runs a holiday cottage business and she once told me that her job involves a lot of laundry – and cake. I remembered to get both of those things into the book.
Do any of the local characters you met during your holiday make an appearance in the book?
No, but I did see a sign advertising local crab and it inspired me to weave a character called ‘Big Dave’, a former celebrity chef, into the story.
During your stay in Hope Cove, was there a particular setting that awoke your best ideas?
My best ideas actually come once I think I know what the story is about and I’ve begun to write it. But what my time in Hope Cove did was to inspire my senses and give me lots of small details which I drew on once I got home to enrich the story.
Could you tell us a bit more about your central character, Nina, and the situation she finds herself in?
A Match Made In Devon is the story of Nina, an actress, who after a very public blunder, flees London to escape the paparazzi and ends up in Brightside Cove, a tiny village in South Devon. She has always been drawn to the sea – for reasons which become clear – and she falls in love, not just with a lovely man, but with Devon too, and is faced with a difficult choice – her career or her new life?
Did you begin the book with an end in mind?
I never begin a book until I know the full story – or until I think I do! Even with all the planning I do, the characters can still surprise me, but the end never changes.
What’s the book’s overarching message?
To be true to yourself and be the person you want to be and not what others think you should be.
Do you think Devon will be the setting for more of your novels?
I finished writing A Match Made In Devon eighteen months ago and I’m still thinking about the characters. This is a good sign! I certainly wouldn’t rule out returning to Brightside Cove to see what Nina and the gang are up to. And when I do, I’ll be sure to stay in a Toad Hall cottage again.
What’s up next for Cathy Bramley the writer?
I’m just finishing off my new book, out in March next year, called A Vintage Summer. It’s about a young woman called Lottie with a troubled past, a widow called Betsy who has a secret to hide, and an English vineyard which is swiftly getting out of hand! And yes, before you ask, I did have to research rather a lot of wine!
‘Thank you, Cathy, so wonderful to hear that one of our delightful Hope Cove cottages played a part in your latest novel and we hope to see you again sometime soon.’ Mr Toad of Toad Hall Cottages