Favourite Things: Author Jan Birley

Jan Birley

Author Jan Birley grew up in Scarborough and now lives near Selby with her husband Tony, several horses, dogs and cats and, occasionally, any number of her three grown-up children. Written under the pseudonym of Josie King, Jan has recently released her debut novel, Planet Fran – Population One, available on Amazon.

Having grown up in Scarborough, it’s a place I love to visit whenever I can and there is a whole host of places that not only hold special memories but which draw me back time and time again.


The North Bay is my

favourite beach in the country. With its quiet, lazy promenade, stretching from the Sands Apartments (what was the Corner Café) down to the Sea Life Centre, there is

ample time to put the world to rights in your thoughts over a fresh seaside walk.

Those who frequent the North Bay, certainly outside the holiday season, are usually looking for a touch of calm and peace over the flashing lights and ping-tinging of the slot machines on the South Bay.

Naval Warfare, Peasholm Park.

As a writer, I’m always looking for inspiration and am never out without my notepad and pen. My first stop when I have a great idea is the nearest coffee shop. I mean, what better excuse does a person need to sit down, enjoy a latte and piece of cake than to draft the outline of a story? First choice, for me, would be Oasis Café on Marine Drive – a perfect place to sit with stunning views and great food into the bargain. Who wouldn’t be inspired?

In the process of producing my novel as an audio book, I spend a good deal of time in Scarborough at the moment, at Hyperbright Studios in Eastfield, with the talented Dave Thompson. It’s hungry work, I can tell you, so food is always high on my priorities and there’s great food to be had at Giannis Italian restaurant on Victoria Road in a setting that is intimate and cosy with authentic food that

really hits the spot.

I met my husband when he lived in Scalby. As a youngster growing up in the Peasholm area of Scarborough, Scalby wasn’t a place I visited often but with family there after we married, I found what a lovely place it is, with its annual summer fair, boasting a fabulous range of home baking and crafts and an easy, cheeky detour into the Nags Head for a quick bevvy. Across the road is the much sought-after Daisy Tea Rooms, offering a very fine afternoon tea (amongst many other delicious delights).

Scalby Fair

Peasholm Park, though, is my most favourite place. I’ve enjoyed the park through naval battles, the Japanese-style Tree Walk that enthralled me as a child, endless sailings in canoes and rowing boats, putting, and ice-creams, and still, today, it’s a place I love to spend time in, walking and dreaming up new writing ideas. When you live in a particular place, you often take its wonders for granted. That I don’t live there now has opened up all of those wonders for enjoyment yet again. See you soon, Scarborough!

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Oasis Cafe with the wonder view of Scarborough's North Bay.

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