Authors reveal the images that inspired 100,000 words
About the author...
Jane Cable is a writer of romantic novels with a twist of mystery. Her first, The Cheesemaker’s House, was a finalist in the Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition and won the Words for the Wounded Independent Novel Award in 2015. She is a member of both the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. Her passions include bodyboarding and watching cricket, although clearly not at the same time.
My latest novel, Another You, is set in Studland Bay in Dorset. It tells the story of Marie Johnson who is trapped by her job as a chef in the local pub and by her increasingly poisonous marriage to its landlord. Worn down by his string of affairs she has no self-confidence, no self-respect and the only thing that keeps her going is watching her son turn into a talented artist.
But the sixtieth anniversary of a D-Day exercise which ended in disaster triggers chance meetings which prove unlikely catalysts for change as Marie discovers that sometimes the hardest person to save is yourself.
Oddly enough Another You began with an old boat called Turbot which a friend and I spotted floating forlornly just off the shore on a visit to Studland. We swam around it and back on the beach started to make up stories about who it belonged to and why it looked so abandoned. Not long afterwards I needed a short story for Winchester Writers’ Festival so created a tale about a group of teenagers on the beach, some ghostly happenings and the Turbot. The only
elements which made it into the final version of the book are Jude (Marie’s son) and his lifelong friend Pip.
I had completely forgotten about Turbot until I visited Studland last month and found it hauled up in front of a beach hut. As a beach hut features prominently in Another You I couldn’t resist taking this photograph.
Although set entirely in 2004, Another You has a strong historical element looking back to World War 2. While I was researching the area I stumbled across the story of six servicemen who died in a practice for D-Day which went horribly wrong when a number of amphibious tanks sank. This is their memorial, and the yacht just visible behind it shows its wonderful position in relation to the bay.
The live ammunition rehearsals for D-Day
went on for more than six weeks and contributed hugely to the success of the actual operation. Both British and American troops were involved and Another You references this period of Studland’s history in a big way.
Studland’s stunning scenery is almost another character in the book. The village, and the pub in particular, is nestled into the crook of the bay with the cliffs rising above giving stunning views across to Bournemouth and out to sea.
The cliffs are Marie’s escape and many of the book’s key scenes are played out on top of them.
Studland is well known for its colony of seahorses, one of the few in the British Isles. I wanted to somehow weave their plight (their habitat is reducing alarmingly) into the story and although I’ve squeezed them in once or twice a tiny silver seahorse found on the cliffs becomes far more important.
When I started to write the book the idea of the seahorse came from this little chap sent to me by a friend in a birthday card. Last year she sent me another one, and the day after it arrived I had an offer for the book (then called The Seahorse Summer) from Endeavour Press. I like to believe it wasn’t entirely co-incidental.