Donna Crocker introduced our speaker, Mara Purl, author and actress.

Mara shared with us short version of her journey to the Central Coast. What brought her to Cambria was an invitation from Jim and Olga Buckley to spend a summer co-starring in a professional production of Sea Marks at the Pewter Plough Playhouse. It was then that she realized that Cambria was too creative, too eccentric, too fantastic not to write about it!

Back in Los Angeles, she was cast as Darla Cook in Days of Our Lives. But Cambria was never far from her thoughts. She got interested in the longer form of storytelling. And realized that a small coastal town would be a perfect framework for a story of her own. During the run of the play at Pewter Plough, she was invited by Wally Wallenbrach, the owner of our local radio station K-Otter, to do a radio drama. By the time she accepted his invitation, the radio station had been sold but with support from Wally and our very own Bruce Howard, she was able to sell her show to the station.

Now she has to decide what to name the show. It would be based on Cambria, but she was unsure whether or not she should use the name Cambria. First, this was now a town full of friends, some of whom had already agreed to become cast members. Second, although she had experience as a journalist, this would not be a documentary. This would be drama. To protect the town and her friends and to give herself artistic freedom she decided to create a fictional town that had suspicious resemblances to Cambria. Mara created two main characters: one would be the head of the Environmental Planning Commission – at the time, there was no such thing; the other would be a builder-developer. They were
constantly at loggerheads. She then created two more main characters. One would
be an artist who painted wildlife and landscape; the other would be the heir to a
coastal oil company. Despite romantic interest, their lives were moving in opposite

While searching for a name for her fictitious town, she discovered that Cambria is a name for Wales. So she looked to the country of Wales for ideas. She located a town by the name of Milford-Haven and it was on a coastline very similar to Cambria. She commissioned local artist, Warren Talcott to create a visual representation of Milford-Haven and turned the radio show into a series of printed books.

Amazingly enough, word of her books drew the attention of the BBC, who was
interested in broadcasting her show in Great Britain! Mara realized that she would need to promote her story in Britain and Wales so she and her husband headed there. She was amazed to discover so many similarities between Cambria and Milford-Haven. Both towns had produced whale oil and were involved in ship building. With the demise of the whale oil trade, both towns turned to tourism. The people of Milford-Haven, Wales, welcomed Mara with open arms because she was helping to put their town on the map through her books.

Thank you for a very interesting presentation. You can read more about Mara Purl and her books at