I’ve never set a book in an area I haven’t visited. Having said that, most of The Runaway takes place in Cornwall, and it’s many a long day since I was there – but the impressions I had then have stuck in my brain. One day I’ll go back, but it won’t be this year…
The book starts off in London, though, where the Seaton family live in a terrace on the south side. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in one, but TV programmes like Location Location Location and Homes Under the Hammer can give you a very good idea of what London flats, not to mention London prices, are like.
Nicola, Ed and 15-year-old Kelly are comfortably-off, but not well off. I imagined them in a building rather like the one below. Before long, however, circumstances force the three to move to Cornwall, and although Nicola is convinced the removal is the only thing to do, she has reservations about leaving the city.
Whisper it – moving might be best for them as a family, but given the choice, she’d live in London, wouldn’t she?
Home is now a big house on the top of a cliff, a mile or two outside St Ives. Nicola tries to convince herself they’d done the right thing.
…now she could sit on the beach every day of the year, on any beach, all the beaches. Maybe one day, when they’d settled in properly, being a seaside-dweller instead of a city girl wouldn’t feel like she was cut off from her real life.
Nearby St Ives is a bustling, vibrant town in summer.
The street running along the edge of harbour was busy, and Nicola grinned at her daughter. ‘Feels like we’re back in civilisation here, doesn’t it?’
But Kelly hates her new home, and spends hours alone on the beach.
The beach was the only good part about living here. It was somewhere to come when the roof was falling on her head at home, somewhere she could be alone and part of the enormity of wind, waves and sky.
Events spiral out of control, and Nicola finds herself back in London, alone and searching, searching…
Nicola slapped her oyster card on the machine, hurrying through and joining the crowds on the platform. The train screeched in, and she took her seat for the first leg of her trip to today’s search area.
Meanwhile, Ed is still in Cornwall, waiting at home. Towards the end of the book he stands on a deserted clifftop, gazing out to sea as the tide comes in…
There was the ocean, ever-changing and yet timeless, moonlight glinting on the waves as they surged inland.
So – is there a future for the family in lovely Cornwall? I’ll leave you to read for yourselves.
The Runaway is available on kindle only at the moment, but the paperback will follow on later this year. As we’re all stuck inside in Corona lockdown, we’ve left the pre-order price of 99p or your local equivalent in place for the moment. Here we are in the psychological fiction charts:
I’ll leave you with another lovely Cornish view. Stay safe, everyone!