– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Beyond The Yew Tree’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, but b
About the Author :
Aspiring writer who pens Women’s Fiction and magical tales about family secrets.
An East Anglian turned Northerner – almost.
Information professional, always.
Biologist, in my memories.
Archivist, when required.
Amateur pianist and flautist.
Scribbler of pictures.
And forever…. a mother and wife.
Oh, not forgetting, cat lover!
Whispers in the courtroom.
Only one juror hears them.
Can Laura unravel the truth by the end of the trial?
In an old courtroom, a hissing voice distracts shy juror, Laura, and at night recurring nightmares transport her to a Victorian gaol and the company of a wretched woman.
Although burdened by her own secret guilt, and struggling to form meaningful relationships, Laura isn’t one to give up easily when faced with an extraordinary situation.
The child-like whispers lead Laura to an old prison graveyard, where she teams up with enthusiastic museum curator, Sean. He believes a missing manuscript is the key to understanding her haunting dreams. But nobody knows if it actually exists.
Laura is confronted with the fate of two people – the man in the dock accused of defrauding a charity for the blind, and the restless spirit of a woman hanged over a century ago for murder. If Sean is the companion she needs in her life, will he believe her when she realises that the two mysteries are converging around a long-forgotten child who only Laura can hear?
Guest Post :
Location, Location, Location
When I set out to write my first book, The Women of Heachley Hall, I knew the book would be based almost entirely in one location, the house of the title. My intention was to make it a character with a personality of its own. I drew floor plans so I could see how people moved around the house and I hunted around the internet for images that matched my visions of the interior – these are now on a Pinterest board. As for the actual location of the house, it’s not real, although if you were to ask me to point to a spot on the map, I know precisely where the house and where its neighbouring fictional village is located. About them are genuine locations that I describe in the book, and some of these I have visited and describe based on personal experiences. As for Heachley Hall, a few readers comment how the house feels like another character in the book, which delights me still.
Location is often key to a book’s story. For the fantasy writers, their Discworlds and MiddleEarths are critical to the joy of world building and they start with an empty canvas to populate. Most writers though begin with real places in mind. For my current release, Beyond the Yew Tree, the location was the spark that initiated the plot. I knew I wanted an old courthouse, and I didn’t want to use my local one. Once I’d discovered Lincoln’s old courthouse, I hit a gold nugget of useful material. My plot needed a graveyard – it’s right there in the castle walls, and a prison, which is now a museum, and it created scope for another one of my characters: Sean, the curator. Lincoln became my perfect location and I even incorporated the cathedral, which is why it’s on the cover.
But how far do you go with a location, especially a real place? I took advice from other authors and the general rule seems to be don’t identify the street you live on – obviously, or ones that are connected to your life. You could go to the extreme of revealing nothing. I’ve read a book describing a city, one that seemed recognisable, but in fact was never given a name. It could be any city in the UK. Or you could describe the city in all its glory then give it another name. Gotham City is New York City, yeah?
Don’t put at risk the anonymity of real people by using their properties – imagine if JK Rowling had used a real street and house for Harry Potter’s home? As it is the set locations in the film have become the focal point for fans of her books. The best advice I had was use a location but create fake streets or buildings, which is what I did for Beyond the Yew Tree. Or simply don’t name the street where the action happens.
The exception to the rule of using real places is suspended for historical fiction where your characters are factually accurate, and the places associated with them might still exist. For this genre, your readers might be a bit miffed to discover you’re making stuff up about their favourite historical person.
I wandered about on Google Streetview, familiarising myself with the streets of Lincoln, and I know roughly where my fictional lanes are, and for the historical aspect of the novel, I consulted maps of old Lincoln that are available online. Twenty years ago, how would I have done all this so easily from my desk? It’s a fortunate thing to be a writer these days as the research is quicker and less problematic.
By the end of writing Beyond the Yew Tree I’d added to Lincolnshire a number of entirely made-up places and situated them amongst the real city and its surroundings. My advice is if you ever read a book and fancy visiting the locations described – check the map first!
Win One copy of The Last Thing She Said or The Woman of Heachley Hall (Open INT)
• If the winner is in the UK then it will be a print copy, otherwise International winner is e-book.
Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds