The Lost Sister opens in the beautiful coastal town of Queensbay. It's where one of the main characters Becky grows up... the very same town where her mother walks out one day to live in a cave. Here's one of the first descriptions of the town.
The tide was low, the sea hazy in the distance, seaweed and shells clogging the wet morning sand as people walked out of the café nearby with takeaway teas in polystyrene cups. It wasn't a built-up beach – even now it isn’t – just a plain and simple sandy cove, no trendy eater- ies or boutique shops. Its natural beauties are enough to draw people in, the chalk stacks adorn- ing most of the postcards in town. The bay beyond the chalk stacks with its five caves wasn’t as much of a draw then, people were put off by the stories of tourists being caught out there during high tide.
Before I started on The Lost Sister, I knew I wanted to write about caves and people who might be drawn to live in one. But I couldn't yet visualise where the cave might be set.
So I googled 'UK caves beautiful'. And that's when I discovered Botany Bay, a gorgeous little bay on the Kent coast.
I saw it was only a couple of hours away plus the most gorgeous looking hotel was based on the cliffs there. What better excuse to go on a research trip there?
So that's what I did... and I fell in love! By that point, I had already written quite a bit of The Lost Sister. But the location felt flat. Being in Botany Bay completely brought it to life.
Feeling the chalk of the cliffs beneath my fingertips. Standing in the damp darkness of the cave and looking out to sea. Walking along the beach as the sun set and taking in the STUNNING sight of the chalk stacks against those vivid pink and orange skies. It really brought the town of Queensbay to life in my mind and, I hope, on the page too!
In fact, I loved it so much, I went back with my family a few weeks later! Maybe reading The Lost Sister will inspire you to visit too?
To find out more about Botany Bay, visit the Thanet tourism website. To see the hotel I stayed at, check out its website.