Today we travel to Switzerland to chat with Cass Grafton about how Cornwall, Richard Armitage, living in the USA for five years, Jane Austen, being a storyteller, Bagpuss, toilet brushes, Mr Darcy, the movie Fishermen’s Friends, and the alpine town of Zermatt come together as part of her past and current life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was raised in England, in the Welsh border county of Shropshire, spent some time at college in London and then lived in the West Country and later the northwest, with my husband and children, before moving to the USA in 2001.
We spent five very happy years in Connecticut before returning to the north east of England for a while. Six years ago, we moved to Switzerland in the heart of Europe, where we live in a small rural town just north of Zürich.
It’s a beautiful and inspiring country, and living here has given me the chance to make writing my career. I work from home, and I love it!
In which genre do you write?
I’m in love with romance and always have been, so that’s my go-to genre to read or write, but I’m skipping around in the sub-categories, exploring and writing whatever speaks to my heart at any given moment. So far, I’m published in three sub-categories: contemporary romance, historical romance and—as a way to combine both—time travel romance.
How many published books do you have?
I have five out in my sole name, and three co-writes, two with my writing partner, Ada Bright, and one as part of a five-author team.
My most recent release is a heart-warming contemporary romance set in Cornwall.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
I’ve always had a longing to live in Cornwall, but knew it would probably never happen, so I decided to do the next best thing I could: live there through my characters.
One of the other particular inspirations for The Cottage in a Cornish Cove, the first in this new series, was the male lead, a character I fell for from the beginning (and not at all influenced by the mental image I had in my mind of him looking like the gorgeous actor, Richard Armitage). No (shakes head), not at all…
The setting, a quaint fishing village on the south-east Cornwall coast, was inspired by all the many family holidays we had in Polperro with our children and the romantic couples breaks my husband and I also took there (my husband proposed to me in a restaurant in Polperro) and, more recently, in nearby Fowey.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Can I cheat and pick two? Does everyone cheat on this one?
I’d love to sit down with Jane Austen and JK Rowling at the same time. I believe JK Rowling is an Austen fan (in fact, in the first of our time travel romances, Jane Austen reads the first Harry Potter book) and I’d be happy just listening to them talk. Just imagine the things they might ask each other!
I definitely cheat whenever I answer this type of question! Ha!
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?
Rather oddly, that I am, in fact, a storyteller. This may seem odd coming from a writer, but to be honest, when I first started writing fiction (short stories initially, then novels) I had no idea if what I was writing was any good.
What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?
Without question, some amazing and wonderful writer friends. I can’t imagine my life without them, and had I not tried my hand at writing novels, I’d never have met most of them.
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking?
I’d be listening to Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’! Seriously, this is the sort of thing that terrifies me!
I love, love, love this song, Cass! Just had to include the video. Plus, there’s roller skating in the video. Roller skating!
What do you miss about being a kid?
As I’m housework averse, I miss the days when the iron was something you were told to stay away from. Ditto the toilet brush. I miss those days. I also never had a hangover…
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
1. If it hadn’t been for a Connecticut seagull, I would never have met my Californian co-writing partner, Ada Bright (full details upon application)!
2. In 2010, I raised a petition and sent it to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, asking if they could please reinstate the plaster bust of Mr Darcy (a movie prop recently moth balled as it was five years since Pride & Prejudice (2005) came out, where the estate stood in for Mr Darcy’s home of Pemberley).
I doubt the duke and duchess ever saw my letter themselves, but the team at Chatsworth were lovely and said they were happy to do it. Mr Darcy is still there today, in the Orangery Gift Shop, although there’s a sign on him saying ‘Do Not Kiss’. Apparently, the staff became fed up with having to wipe lipstick off it!
3. I’m an Ambassador, as well as a volunteer Programme Manager, for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation, a registered not for profit organisation created by Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen’s (five times) great niece, to harness the global passion for Jane Austen in supporting literacy in communities in need across the world.
What a fascinating story of how you got them to reinstate the bust of Mr Darcy. And, lipstick on the bust!! Hahahaha!
If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?
Bagpuss, a British children’s television series, broadcast in the 1970s. The title character was “a saggy, old cloth cat, baggy, and a bit loose at the seams”. It was stop motion animation rather than cartoon, but I loved the world that woke up when he did (the scenery turning from sepia to colour), and I’m a sucker for any sort of cat, even pink and cream striped ones who hang out with musical mice and a wooden woodpecker bookend called Professor Yaffle.
What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?
Living in Switzerland often scuppers our plans for watching new films on the big screen (our local town only shows one film in English per month, and it’s rarely the one we want to see), so we catch up on DVD as and when we get a chance.
The last one was a British comedy called Fishermen’s Friends. It’s set in the Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac (which Doc Martin fans will know as Portwenn) and is inspired by a true story about a fishermen’s choir. It’s heart-warming and very funny and the location just made it a perfect watch one rainy Sunday afternoon.
This looks like my kind of movie, Cass! Adding it to my list to watch. Thank you.
What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?
Hmmm, tricky, because there are so many gorgeous places here where we’ve had such fun times. It’s a toss up between Weggis on Lake Luzern and the alpine town of Zermatt.
Weggis is at the foot of Mount Rigi—known as the Queen of the Mountains, and one of our favourite places for a day trip—and is a beautiful lakeside resort with lovely views of the neighbouring mountains from across the azure waters. It also has strong associations with Mark Twain, who spent some time there and fell in love with it.
Zermatt is a car-free alpine town near the Italian border, and home to the Matterhorn. It’s full of character, the scenery is stunning and the local food excellent. There are so many mountain trails to hike, whatever the season, and it just feels like you are a million miles away from the world, tucked away up there in mountains.
These both sound like wonderful locations. Mark Twain spent a great deal of time in Virginia City, Nevada, too (about a 15 minute drive from here). He sure got around. I’m adding these to my bucket list.
Tell us about your most recent book.
The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is an uplifting contemporary romance filled with love, warmth and humour. It’s about discovering what you thought you always wanted isn’t necessarily what you need, and follows Anna in her search for happiness.
It came out in February and the reviews have been truly lovely.
It was wonderful having you as a guest and learning more about you, Cass. Best wishes for continued success! -Camilla
Orphaned as a baby and raised by uncaring relatives, much of Anna Redding’s happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in the coastal village of Polkerran.
With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna is drawn back to the West Country, relocating to the Cornish cove where she was once so happy. Filled with memories, she hopes to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart flutter.
Settling into her new life, and enjoying her work for the older, reclusive and—to be honest—often exasperating Oliver Seymour, Anna is delighted when Alex reappears in Polkerran and sweeps her off her feet.
The stars finally seem to be aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery brings everything under threat, and she discovers she’s living a dream that isn’t hers.
Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself and, when the testing moment comes, will anyone be there to hold her hand?
The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is the first in a series of uplifting romances. Get to know the warm and funny locals of Polkerran, wallow in the charm of a Cornish fishing village and fall in love with romance all over again.
Where to find the book:
It’s available in paperback or eBook through all the usual online outlets.
Amazon Universal Book Link (should take people to their local Amazon site)
Barnes & Noble Nook
Smashwords (for PDF, lrf, txt, pdb, html, Mobi or ePub files) on:
Connect with Cass:
Here are a few suggestions on how to further support this author:
- Comment on the interview
- Share the interview using the social media buttons
- Click through to learn more about the author and their book(s)
- If interested, buy the book and leave a review
To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host