Owl Song at Dawn

For the Love of Morecambe

The Midland Hotel
           The Midland Hotel in Morecambe

In the May issue of Writers Forum, Anita Loughrey interviewed me about how the research for my novel, Owl Song at Dawn, led me to fall in love with Morecambe, a town I had never previously visited.

My main characters insisted that they came from this northern seaside resort. I did try to relocate my novel to my hometown of Birkenhead. But, Maeve and Edie – twin sisters born in 1933, one who is fêted as the cleverest girl in town and the other who is diagnosed as ‘severely subnormal’ – refused to morph their Lancashire dialects into Scouse.

The more I researched, including very enjoyable stays in Yacht Bay View, the clearer it felt to me that my characters could not come from anywhere else. Morecambe’s history parallels my heroine’s own: the glamour of the 1950s, the grim neglect of the 80s and today’s glimmers of hope.

I had been writing and visiting Morecambe for some time before the reason why I might have been so drawn to it finally dawned on me. My sister had spent a few years at Beaumont College in Lancaster – a college for people with cerebral palsy and associated disabilities – and they used to take trips to the seaside. On some subconscious level, Morecambe is a town that I associate with my sister and her disabilities: a welcoming place where she experienced the happiest of times.

You can now take a look at the full feature here: Research Secrets – Emma Claire Sweeney

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