The setting of Robin Hood’s Bay, the little old fishing village just south of Whitby on the North Yorkshire Coast was one of the key inspirations for “The Little Church By the Sea” and it’s a place I’ve been visiting all my life.
When I was little, I used to be taken to “Bay” to visit a friend of my mother’s who lived in one of the the new houses at the top of the bank. I loved the view from her garden over the village to beach and the bay beyond, and I especially loved going to visit in the winter when the weather was stormy, but it was cosy in her house looking out over the sweep of the bay.
I also loved the old village with its twisting paths and cottages – we went to see the ancient little cottage that had once belonged to this friend’s family before they moved up the bank – it had her name on the front door back then (and probably still does) but the utter impracticality of living in a cottage with no vehicular access meant that the family cottage had been sold and she and her family now lived in a new house with all mod-cons – and parking! Very few of the cottages in the old village are still lived in, most are holiday cottages, and even fewer (if any) are lived in by the families who had owned them for generations and after whom many are named. Something about the story of the cottage with her name on the door that they had had to leave stuck in my mind – and came out again when I started thinking about a setting for my story.
I had always harboured a secret yearning to live in one of those pretty little cottages – and still do, if I’m honest, despite the impracticality – but if I can’t do it, then at least my heroine can!