The opening scene of my first novel is set in one of my favourite places on the globe: Kimmeridge Bay on the UK’s south coast. It’s a place that speaks to me of childhood adventures, of scrambling through rock pools and dicing with danger beneath crumbling cliffs in the hope of discovering a fossil or two. Not for nothing do they call this part of the world the Jurassic Coast.
Here’s the book’s opening paragraph:
“A flat beach of rock lit by the distant stars. On the beach a maze of boulders, each awaiting the morning tide. Each boulder was unique, a character in a crowd, and one was a dragon.”
And here’s the place I was thinking about when I wrote it:
Standing between the Kimmeridge cliffs and the choppy waters of the English Channel, it’s easy to imagine the ancient forces that shaped the land hundreds of millions of years ago, and which continue to shape it today. The clearly visible lines of rock strata are the exposed text of history, while the fresh rocks littering the shore’s broken stone shelf remind you to keep one eye on the here-and-now; in Kimmeridge Bay, landslides are all too common.
For an impressionable fellow like me, it was a short leap to populate such a place with mythical creatures. If ever a place was made in which to lay a dragon’s egg, Kimmeridge Bay is it.
In part 2 of this occasional series, I’ll take you up 12,000 feet to the summit of the Plated Mountain. Now where in the world could that be …?