- Victor Hugo took refuge in Guernsey in 1856 when he fell foul of the French government and stayed 15 years. He adored the island and was inspired to write a number of books while living at Hauteville House in St Peter Port. His most well-known is 'Les Miserables' and another novel, 'Toilers of The Sea', was written in homage to the island and the local fishermen. So, if one of the great 19th century novelists found Guernsey inspiring, how could a modern- day storyteller like myself not be?!
- Along the same vein, Sir Compton Mckenzie, author of numerous works including 'Whisky Galore' which was made into a film, became tenant of Herm, a small island a boat ride away from Guernsey and coming under its jurisdiction. McKenzie was fascinated by islands and wrote 'Fairy Gold', his romantic, light-hearted homage to Herm and its smaller sister, Jethou. For me, Herm is a magical place and I include it in several of the The Guernsey Novels. There are no cars or bicycles, only the odd tractor and 'gator' used by the islanders and it's easy to stroll around the beaches and cliff paths within an hour or two. With a history of pirates, ghosts and fairies, there's rich pickings for any writer â˜º
- Islands, by their very nature, lend themselves to romance and mystery, separated from the rest of the world and Guernsey is no exception. With spectacular sandy beaches, wooded cliff paths and hidden lanes dotted with isolated cottages, there's scope for all kinds of goings-on.
- An historical novelist has lots to focus on and could choose the odd situation in Guernsey when, during the English Civil War, the island government supported Cromwell instead of the Crown. The Governor, appointed by the King, became holed up in Castle Cornet, a fortress built on a causeway, for 8 years and bombarded St Peter Port with thousands of cannon balls.
- A wonderful novel, offering an evocative and realistic portrayal of Guernsey in the earlier part of the 20th century, 'The Book of Ebenezer Le Page', was published in 1981. It somehow found its way into my grandfather's hands, and I read and loved it before knowing I'd become an islander myself in 1988.
- Anyone remember the TV show, Berjerac, starring John Nettles and set in Jersey? It could as easily have been set in Guernsey, with the detective hunting down wealthy criminals retiring to an off-shore tax haven to hide their ill-gotten gains. Guernsey's beautiful coast road and temperate climate would be bliss for Berjerac, driving around in his Morgan.
- One of the Inspector Lynley books, 'A Place of Hiding', by Elizabeth George, was set in Guernsey, though not part of the TV series. The author, an American, always visits the settings of her books, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one as being so authentic.
- Guernsey and the other islands belonged to the Duke of Normandy back in the 10th century and has retained a strong French influence ever since, the local language being French until the late 19th century. Hence the attraction for Monsieur Hugo!
- Did you know the French planned to invade Guernsey in the late 18th century? Forts and Martello towers were hurriedly built around the island coast and still stand there today. Thanks to the fortifications and bad weather, the invasion was called off. Odd to think that Guernsey could now be French - again!
- Guernsey and the other Channel Islands were the only part of Britain to be invaded by the Germans during WWII, leaving a huge impact on islanders to this day. Many stories abound concerning what did or didn't happen during those years and writers have a rich source of material on which to base their books.
The latest in The Guernsey Novels, 'Echoes of Time', is a time-slip story set partly during the Occupation and partly in the present and, although fiction, does offer an insight into island life at that time.
Echoes of Time and the rest of The Guernsey Novels are available from Amazon in kindle and paperback or can be ordered from booksellers.