Author of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
One of the inspirations for The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter was the way just a couple of Tweets led to my unlikely but enduring friendship with a well-known flamenco guitarist in Madrid. It is a novel about unexpected connections.
I’m a pharophile – a lighthouse fan. One of my best ever afternoons was spent accompanying lighthouse expert Rob Wassell on a low tide scramble to the Beachy Head lighthouse. As Imogen says in the novel, ‘From the cliff top, it was an endearing, little red and white striped ornament; on the beach it is shockingly tall, its colours majestic, a sad and mysterious presence.’
I’m also a hispanophile, thanks to my half-Spanish mother. I jump between a home in San Jose, Almería and an apartment ten minutes from Beachy Head.
Music is a big part of my life and novels. I used to teach piano at the Royal Ballet School, but now just have some lovely private pupils. My novel includes a Spotify playlist that’s mostly an odd mix of English 80s rock and popular flamenco fusion – if you read the novel, you’ll see why!
I also used to play in a band. I still have the Melody Maker advert for a keyboard player - because it led to me marrying the lead singer.
My second career was as a clinical and post-doctoral research optometrist at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Still don’t know how that happened.
Anyone now thinking I sound smart should watch me trying to use a television remote, a shop till, or anything whatsoever in the kitchen.
I have an ex-scientist’s passion for research, and for this I put myself through heaven (e.g. going to flamenco clubs and courses, sleeping in a lighthouse, taking a trip on a paddle steamer) and nerve-wracking hell (e.g. doing a 2-hour live bilingual radio show alongside my flamenco guitarist friend, and an acting audition for a Spanish television series).
I studied writing by reading a lot and doing an online course with the Open College of the Arts. I don’t think you need a degree or an MA.
I nearly died of pneumonia at the turn of the millennium, so the last 18 years – which have seen the publication of my first two novels and my being taken on by the fabulous Urbane Publications for my third – are a bonus!
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Cherry Radford is published by Urbane Publications on the 5th April 2018