Author and broadcaster Dawn O'Porter describes her coastal childhood on Guernsey and the pleasures of going rockpooling with her young family. Interview: Alex Reece
My family house is on the cliffs in St Martins on Guernsey, so that view of Fermain Bay is what I think of when I think of home. Fermain Bay is a pebble beach – it would have been where I spent most of my childhood, down there with my dog. From the end of our garden, we can see the whole east coast of the island. It’s just magnificent and so thought provoking and beautiful.
What do I enjoy doing when I’m there? I’d wake up and let my Auntie Jane cook me an amazing fry-up, and then walk on the cliffs down Jerbourg Way with our family dog, Twiglet. We’d maybe go down a little dirt track to a beach called Divette, which is a tiny beach where the sea comes right up and creates this amazing swimming pool between the rocks. And then we’d go down to the Fermain Beach Café for lunch and have scallops or a crab sandwich and a glass of very cold white wine.
I also love island hopping – getting on the Trident ferry and the local boats and going and sitting in the pubs on the other islands. That’s kind of my favourite thing to do. It’s just dreamy on Herm.
We go back to Guernsey every year. My four-year-old’s got really into winkle-picking and eating the chancre crabs, and spending hours and hours in the rockpools. Where we live now, we're about a half-an-hour or 45-minute drive from the coast, and I do miss the sea. But the coastline in America is very different. In California, the beaches are vast – they’re about half a mile wide. They’re not the same lovely covey beaches that I’m used to.
Some of my previous books are very loosely based on my own teenage years and so I could use Guernsey as my setting. I wrote my new novel So Lucky in LA. The book’s a reminder, really, that of course there’s a life behind the social media facade.
If I’m halfway through a deadline and I go to Guernsey, inspiration will just strike when I walk on the cliffs. It’s so relaxing and calm. It’s like a thousand therapy sessions to sit on a bench and look at the ocean. There’s nothing like it.
So Lucky by Dawn O'Porter is published by HarperFiction (£14.99 hardback).