Sense of Place:

Rufi Thorpe, author of The Girls From Corona del Mar

I am from Corona del Mar, and it is also the place where my first novel, The Girls from Corona del Mar, was written and set. The story is of two girls, best friends, who grow up together. Mia, who glorifies her friend Lorrie Ann as a saint, is disturbed as Lorrie Ann’s life begins to spiral out of control. The two women are reunited in Istanbul in their late-twenties where they must find a way to accept both themselves and each other.

The book was originally set in Charlottesville, Virginia, but it just wasn’t working and the major breakthrough in the first draft came when I set it in Corona del Mar. I don’t write very autobiographical material and none of the plot of The Girls is taken from my life, but the Corona del Mar I present is very much the one I knew. I am wildly and unabashedly sentimental about California.

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I have lived many places, and when I was young I was embarrassed of coming from Southern California, which is famous mostly for its vapidity. But California is home, is in my blood, and I find myself unable to keep from returning to it, both physically in the sense of a domicile, and figuratively in my writing.

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There are no real seasons there; it is sunny and warm almost the entire year. This creates a weird timeless feeling, a kind of temporal amnesia so that you cannot tell how quickly or slowly time is passing. There is no shift from winter to spring or summer to fall to let you know that every day you are marching closer towards death. All of your memories take place on the same sunny day.

corona2

There are no real seasons there; it is sunny and warm almost the entire year. This creates a weird timeless feeling, a kind of temporal amnesia so that you cannot tell how quickly or slowly time is passing. There is no shift from winter to spring or summer to fall to let you know that every day you are marching closer towards death. All of your memories take place on the same sunny day.

corona3

My husband and I were married on a boat that toured the Newport Harbor, taking us past the beaches where we had both grown up. You can tell how beautiful the day was from these photos. We were married in the middle of January.

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For me, there is a magic there that simply doesn’t exist elsewhere. California has run away with my heart. I hope some of my love for the place comes through in The Girls.

The Girls From Corona del Mar will be published by Hutchinson on 14th August.

You could win copies for you and your best friend on Twitter @WindmillBooks!

Pre-order your copy here.

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