So we are getting closer and closer to Christmas. Which means that there are lots and lots of lovely Chrismassy books out including Christmas on the Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley. Below Phillipa talks about her inspiration behind the ‘Little Cornish Isles’.
Where are the ‘Little Cornish Isles’?
The Isles of Scilly are one of my favourite places in the world – not that I’ve travelled that much of the world but I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few locations renowned for their stunning coastlines, including Grenada, St Lucia, Sardinia, Corsica and Southern Australia. There are some beautiful beaches in all of these places but I think the white sands and jewel-like seas of St Mary’s, St Martin’s, St Agnes, Tresco and Bryher are equally, if not more breathtaking, than any of those exotic hotspots.
From the moment I first glimpsed Scilly from a tiny Skybus aircraft in September 2014, I was smitten. From the air, the isles look like a necklace of emerald gems fringed by sparkling sands, set in a turquoise, jade and sapphire lagoon. (Just remember that we’re in the chilly Atlantic, thirty miles west of Cornwall and that it can rain and the fog can roll in. Take your wellies, walking boots and umbrella as well as your bikini!)
Within half an hour of setting foot on the ‘Main Island’, St Mary’s, I knew that one day I had to set a novel there. However, if you go looking for Gull Island, St Piran’s, St Saviour’s, Petroc or any of the people, pubs or businesses featured in this series, I’m afraid you won’t find them. They’re all products of my imagination. While I’ve set some of the scenes on St Mary’s, almost all of the organisations mentioned in the series are completely fictional and I’ve had to change aspects of the ‘real’ Scilly to suit my stories.
On saying that, I hope you will find stunning landscapes, welcoming pubs and cafes, pretty flower farms and warm, hardworking communities very like the ones you’ll read about in these books. I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide where Scilly ends and the Little Cornish Isles begin.