Thursday, 22 September 2011

Guest Post: Kate Harrison - Life's a Beach!

Hello everybody! I've got a fab guest post today from the very lovely Kate Harrison, author of Soul Beach. I reviewed Soul Beach a couple of weeks ago and loved it - click here to read my review.

Kate's here today to talk about her top five beaches and I must admit it's really made me desperate for a sun soaked holiday - lucky I get to go to Florida in two weeks, isn't it? Ha! Anyway, over to Kate...

I don’t actually remember when I decided Soul Beach should actually be set ... well, on a beach.

At first my idea was simple: a mysterious social network where all the members were dead. But I didn’t know where that was, how it looked, or why it existed.

Then we moved to Barcelona... a city with some of the most glamorous beaches in Europe.

The rest, for me, is history. I immediately realised that my strange online paradise should be set on a stunning shoreline: if you have to face eternal life, then it might seem better with a sea view.

Now that the first book in the trilogy is coming out, lots of people have asked me whether it’s based on a real place.

Well, if I admitted that, I might be giving the game away about the next books... so instead of a spoiler, I thought I’d let you know about my top five favourite beaches.

1. Barceloneta – well, as I was living fifteen minutes’ walk from this one while I was writing the first Soul Beach, it has to feature. Barcelona has more than 4 km of beaches, but this is the liveliest. Locals gather around the Cubes – a strange but funky monument of four rusty cubes which is also the perfect meeting point. You’ll find skateboarders, surfers, pensioners playing board games, and some of Spain’s funkiest four-legged friends. Oh, and the chiringuitos – beach bars – are definitely the inspiration for the Soul Beach bar...

2. Brighton – when we moved back to the UK, I knew I needed my beach fix, and where better than Brighton? OK, it’s pebbly but apart from that I adore everything about it – the people-watching, the ghost of the old pier and the OTT one that remains. And the fact that it always feels like a bank holiday here!

3. Scheveningen – this is one from my childhood in Holland, and it was a tough decision between this, Blackpool and Southport. But I thought fewer people might know about this amazing long, sandy stretch on the Dutch coast. I must admit I haven’t visited it for years but I remember it was the perfect place for kids, with a crazy Diorama (may have crumbled by now), a wrecked boat, a pier and cafes selling ‘poffertjes’ – mini pancakes coated with butter and icing sugar. Just the thing to take the edge of the North sea wind...

4. Paxos – I’m afraid this is a bit vague as I can’t remember which of the beaches on the Greek island of Paxos was my favourite. But I discovered them on my first trip to Greece, about twenty years ago. We were on a last minute, dirt cheap trip to Corfu, and ended up in Kavos, where the Club 18-30s hung out. But it was October, and the crowds had gone, and I loved the island. Then we took a ferry to Paxos and I was in heaven. The quiet pebbly coves with cute as a button tavernas and turquoise seas were so stunning that I wanted to hide when the boat came to ferry us to Corfu again. One day I’ll head back and then I’ll remember which of the beaches it was I loved the most.

5. Koh Samed – this is your classic paradise beach, and I visited it on a writing holiday. I know, how lucky was I? I was inspired by the wonderful Irish writer Claire Boylan, who died far too young in 2006. She was one of many generous authors who encouraged me along the way. In fact, later that same year I started writing my first novel. I remember a stunning midnight thunderstorm, the largest mosquito bites I’ve ever had, a staggeringly bad case of sunstroke after singing songs from the shows in the surf, and a nightly sundowner cocktail to celebrate a good day’s writing. Memorable for all the right reasons. Except the mozzies, obviously.

Naming my favourites has been almost as hard as listing my favourite books, there are so many. And it makes me think that perhaps I should be booking a holiday to one I haven’t yet discovered... all in the name of research for the next books, obviously!

Brilliant, what a great guest post! Looking at all those gorgeous beaches definitely helps to combat the dark mornings we've been having lately... Summer is most definitely over. WHAT SUMMER? Yes, I am super British and like to complain about our lack of sun. Yay. See you all soon lovelies!


  1. I hope the picture of the Holland one doesn't represent the time period you visited. Eep!

    Brighton rocks! I can say that because it is one of my favourite places too!


Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.