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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Setting the Scene

Thanks for dropping by-- come in, come in. I'd like to show you around Calverley Old Hall.

This is the setting for my upcoming novel Base Spirits (September 2011-- Ooh! Scary, kids!

I guarantee Base Spirits is much scarier. And there are no pancakes... or are there? AROOOO!

The book is a bit of a mongrel, genre-wise. I call it 'a supernatural thriller with a historical core'. ('an historical'? Nitpicking...) The Old Hall, as you can see by the Flickr slide show I found on the Web, is a bit of a mongrel as well.

It was kismet that led me to discover the Old Hall back in my acting days. I was playing the woebegone wife of the murderous Sir Walter Calverley in a Summerworks Theatre Festival production of 'A Yorkshire Tragedy' (but that's a whole other blog post!), and had a chance to visit Yorkshire that summer. Calverley is a small village just outside of Leeds halfway to Bradford. I went to find the Old Hall, and happily also found a local historian Ted Garnett who gave me a tour and a book about the murders. Invaluable research for a difficult role... and the seeds to a future novel.

The fact that one can rent out the North Wing as a holiday guesthouse stuck in my craw, and informed my story's eventual structure. I love reading work that plays with historical events and people. But rather than pen a purely historical novel, I created a 'play within a play'. What if a modern marriage's discord could somehow dredge up the horrors of the past? And since I adore a good ghost story, this idea grabbed my imagination and ran off with it like a bat out of Hell.

I hope it will grab your attention, too-- in September.

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