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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Guest Post - The Inspiration for Summer at Coastguard Cottages by Jennifer Bohnet

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 The Inspiration for Summer at Coastguard Cottages
Guest post by Jennifer Bohnet

THE inspiration for SUMMER AT COASTGUARD COTTAGES was a long time brewing!

Many years ago I lived with my family in a coastguard cottage and loved it. When we decided to sell and move our lives in a different direction, I had no idea just how much I would miss our tiny cottage. 

Set on a Devonshire clifftop it was one of ten properties and was little more than a two up two down terraced cottage, but it was in an idyllic position. I never tired of standing and watching the sea in all its moods. I loved how at night the flashing beam from a lighthouse along the coast would illuminate our bedroom window with its regular sequence. Put simply, I’ve never forgotten the sheer joy of living on that clifftop.

I wanted to write a summer book which needed to be based around a community as I like writing stories with a cast of characters whose lives entwine with each other in unexpected ways. I didn’t want to write another cafe or coffee shop book with characters coming and going, and while I was thinking about suitable settings for the book, a picture of the old coastguard station flashed into my mind. And that was that!

Most coastguard cottages in Devon these days appear to be holiday homes but I didn’t want a transient community - I wanted the characters to have real friendships and to look out for each other. I also wanted to set the new story within a definite time scale: July and August the two months of ‘proper’ summer would be ideal. This gave me the working title of Eight Weeks in Summer, so I set to work creating a ‘new’ coastguard station but most definitely based on my former home. 

I made a couple of the properties belong to long-term owners, one used as a full time residence, and none would be rented out as a business, just to friends and family. I decided to leave the exact location of the cottages vague and to just have them on a clifftop ‘somewhere’ in south Devon, but with easy access to places I know well - Modbury, Kingsbridge and Dartmouth. I gave the complex a swimming pool, a tennis court and well tended gardens. Once I had my setting, characters started to inhabit the cottages, their backstories became clear to me and their present day storylines began to form. 

I really enjoyed writing about Carrie, Guy, Bruce and Karen and while they, and their stories, are completely fictional, writing Summer at Coastguard Cottages took me back to a very happy time in my life.

About Jennifer Bohnet

Sixteen years ago Richard and I, with our then dog, 14 year old Holly in a trailer attached to Richard's bike, cycled down through western France via the canal paths, arriving in Antibes in July. With the exception of two fleeting visits back to the UK we have lived in France ever since.

For the past five years we have lived in a small cottage in central Brittany with one large collie dog called Viking, one fat cat known as Little’un and a young tortoiseshell cat called Missy. Oh, and there are various ducks and chickens in the garden, and a large pond with about a hundred fish in!

I am a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Society of Authors.



Other books by Jennifer Bohnet


  1. Best of luck with the book, it sounds like a lovely summer read!

  2. Look at all of those lovely books! And I happen to be looking for some more summer reads:)

  3. What a wonderful book! Thanks for sharing your inspiration.

  4. Sounds very evocative!


  5. thanks for sharing your experience. sounds amazing

  6. I would love to live in one of those communities.

  7. Now I want to visit the Devon coast.

  8. Wonderful! Will have to read it 💙

  9. It is great to read about the thought processes that authors have when writing, thank you :)

  10. What a wonderful way to travel, Jennifer!

  11. I love the idea of a close-knit community in lovely Devon! We love holidaying there. And France... wow... it's one of my dreams to go there! :)

  12. Love this guest post. I enjoy discovering different locations throughout book.

  13. I'll have to suggest these books to my aunt. They are her kind of stories.

  14. Amazing!
    Thanks for sharing such a great post :)