Where is Cemaes?
Cemaes is in that magical area between Cardigan, Newcastle Emlyn, Crymych and Fishguard, but you will only find it in the books of North Pembrokeshire writer, Thorne Moore. Living in Eglwyswrw, she finds inspiration and a setting for her writing in the area she loves around her home. Another local author, Judith Barrow went to talk with Thorne about the influence this county has on her work.
“I was born in Luton, and knew Pembrokeshire, at first, merely as a holiday destination (I did walk a sizeable part of the coast path one year with a tent on my back). I knew that a branch of my family had come from Pembrokeshire, first recorded in the 16th century, but my great grandmother had moved to Cardiff, where my mother grew up. In 1983, I came here, with my sister Liz, to set up a restaurant, and in 1989 we moved to Eglwyswrw, where I have lived ever since.
Pembrokeshire has been a huge inspiration as I think of it as a very four-dimensional place. To me, time and history are very much present, which sits very lightly on the past. There’s a sense of isolation, especially here in the north of the county, enclosed by sea and hills and forests. There are no particularly large towns here, so it represents a freedom from urban artificiality. But it also embodies a tension, between the people rooted in this area for centuries, with their own culture and language, and the incomers from a different world, in search of a playground.”
Thorne’s first book, A Time For Silence, is set mostly in north Pembrokeshire and uses that tension to explore some historical realities. Her second, Motherlove, also includes Pembrokeshire scenes and she is currently working on her latest Shadows, which is very firmly set in Pembrokeshire, and soaks up the history of this area.
Thorne describes her style, ” … psychological mysteries. There’s usually a crime involved, though not necessarily a murder, because crime is an excellent device to push characters out of their everyday rut and make them confront truths about life, and themselves, that they might otherwise avoid. I don’t write whodunits as I expect a lot of readers would guess, quite easily who, what, where and when. It’s the why that fascinates me. I want to know what drives people to do something that they know is wrong, and how they deal with it when it’s happened. How do they cope when it’s done to them? What legacy does it leave? What damage does its memory continue to do? I was never fond of those crime stories where a detective gathers people round to explain the solution to a nice, neat problem.”
When Thorne writes about Pembrokeshire her stories are set in an imprecise area, which could contain all manner of old cottages, ruined mansions, old chapels and isolated villages. The only exception is the derelict cottage that features in A Time For Silence based on a real cottage that lies just two fields beyond the end of her garden.
“Twenty odd years ago, it was engulfed in trees and mysterious shadows, and you could see, through a shattered window, a sagging upper floor, and pots in the inglenook fireplace. These days, it’s a little more exposed to daylight, and preparing for renovation – as happens in the book.”
Enjoy Thorne’s writing for yourself and escape into a Pembrokshire mystery …
‘Click’ a book cover to take a look at her books on Amazon: