Author Jenny McLachlan on all things Sussex

PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 April 2020

Jenny McLachlan (c) Lee James Thompson

Jenny McLachlan (c) Lee James Thompson

Lee JamesThompson

Jenny McLachlan is a former English teacher and author of The Land of Roar, the Ladybirds series, Stargazing for Beginners and Truly, Wildly Deeply. The next book in the Land of Roar series will be published in May

Home is…

Old Town, Eastbourne.

Your earliest memory of Sussex?

We moved here from Malvern when I was four years old. We moved to a house in Cherry Garden Road which is at the foot of the Downs and the back garden was on such a dramatic slope that it made it very difficult to play ball games. Football was a very one-sided event!

Where do you go to unwind?

I go onto the Downs. I am a walker, a runner and a cyclist and I find it incredible that within five minutes of leaving my house I can be on the Downs with access to miles and miles of cycling and walking.

Favourite Sussex walk?

I love Friston Forest and sometimes I go there daily. I have a dog – a lurcher/whippet cross – and in the summer there’s a 5km run I do through the woods which really helps with my writing – my mind goes on brilliant journeys and I have used the countryside around here a lot in my writing, especially Land of Roar. It was when I was walking on Beachy Head with my husband that I came up with the whole idea for the series.

Favourite place to spend time with the family?

The beach. We love swimming and we go out on the SUP paddleboard from Birling Gap along by the cliffs. For me the quieter the better, so I really love Cow Gap, which is quite magical.

Where is your favourite place to shop?

I lived in Brighton for quite a long time and we go back there as a family for a lovely day out. It’s halfway between shopping and going to a museum because it’s interesting to browse, plus you’ve got lovely places to eat and drink.

My children and I really like Dave’s Comics and there’s a brilliant board game shop so it caters for a lot of the 
things we love: books, board games and Lego!

Best Sussex night out?

I’m torn between walking over the Downs on a summer’s evening to The Eight Bells in Jevington and going to see live music in Brighton. The ideal would be going to see Nick Cave and perhaps to The Pond for a bao bun beforehand then a couple of lovely pubs in the Lanes.

Best place to eat or drink in Sussex?

We recently got a great coffee shop in Eastbourne called Nelson, and they are quite tolerant of me writing in there. They also have a restaurant called Company that’s opened recently near the station and they do the best cocktails I’ve ever had.

I really like the Rathfinny Estate gin too and there’s a wonderful farm shop we go to every week in Seaford called Dymock.

If you could move anywhere in Sussex where would it be?

I would like to move into the Cuckmere Valley, to West Dean. It’s on a road that goes nowhere and you’re basically living in the woods: I would love that.

Your Sussex life in three words?

Family; stories; sea.

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