Over the rather grim coronavirus lockdown, Folkestone-based Writing Group Write by the Sea (set up in 2018 by Karen Marwood) continued to meet by zoom, to communicate by email and Whatsapp (thank goodness for modern technology) and, when it became possible, in smaller groups on walks, down by the beach huts at Folkestone’s Mermaid Bay. The group has brought out two anthologies of stories – Ghosts by the Sea and Doorways to the Sea.
Ghosts by the Sea was inspired by performances by the group at Folkestone’s Living Advent calendar in December 2019, where members collaborated to write stories and poems about some of the town’s landmarks, and then wanted to write more.
What could a perturbed headmistress, an impetuous collie, a friendly bell hop, a Dickens-loving signalman and a hapless drunk have in common? You’ll find them all in the anthology, in stories about the Grand, the Harbour, the Viaduct, the Folkestone School for Girls, the Leas Cliff Hall and the Hideaway Café. There’s a map at the beginning of the book to guide you around.
For Doorways by the Sea, the group took the inspiration from Folkestone’s beach huts and in here, you’ll find an imp with a crafty plan, a brave little speedboat, a group of fifty-somethings gathering for a birthday reunion, old bones, old soldiers and two scatty girls with a Ouija board. In Debby Jones’s story, With Impunity, set many years in the future, the beach huts have lost their sea view and are on the verge of being pulled down, when a mysterious discovery is made underneath.