Origins of the Enchanted Cove
The question everyone has been asking me recently are "where did you get the idea?"
The answer is that it came from a trip I took to Cornwall whilst researching another book, a biography I wrote in 2013 of a favourite actor of mine, the rogueish British film star Robert Newton. Newton was born in the West country and spent some of his childhood in Newlyn and Lamorna, due to his painter father being part of the artistic scene that developed there in the late 19th and early 20th century.
I'd been to Cornwall before, to a painting holiday at St Ives, but this experience was different as I stayed at the less weel known village of Newlyn–still a working harbour and home of the Newlyn Art School. I immediately fell in love with the friendly atmoshere of the place.
On my third day in the area I took a bus from Penzance to Lamorna, with no idea what to expect. The bus driver's slightly unnerving comment on dropping me off by a heavily wooded lane was:
'When you want to come back, wait here by this rock and I'll pick you up.'
My experience of walking along the path through the woods and what I found at the end of it, the magnificent Lamorna Cove, which appears as if out of nowhere at the end of the winding path through Lamorna village seemed dreamlike, like the 'fairyland' Mabel refers to in the story. This led me to imagine what is the cove had some kind of magical power that only revealed itself at certain times.
The children in the story also had a link to my Newton book as he was one of four children and would have been around the age of George in 1913.
Whilst writing it I realised that the story was also influenced by some of the classic adventures I read as a child, which often featured ordinary children having extraordinary experiences, an idea that often influenced my games my own stories and make believe. The character of Aunt Alice was based on the painter Laura Knight, who lived in Lamorna.
So it was that a chain of events and disperate characters led to The Enchanted Cove and in case you are wondering, the bus did return and find me at the rock in the forest!