Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A fluid link

Not quite a spoiler today, but a teaser. If you've seen Mirabilis season one, you'll know about the Roman paperweight Estelle found in the gardener's shed. (Which is the same place she got the shears she cuts her hair with, as a matter of fact. No Princess Leia granny buns for the Honourable Miss Meadowvane - she pretty much invented the messy-style emo haircut back in 1901.)

I first saw these strange fretwork globes being discussed on Time Team. Yes, they are real archaeological artifacts. You don't need to know that to enjoy our fantasy explanation of them, though, coming up in the Spring book. Fans of H G Wells and Doctor Who will not be disappointed. Now, that would only be a spoiler if I told you which characters actually get to use the full-size version...

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Those unheard are sweeter

Ever thought novels ought to have soundtracks? I have to admit, it's not something that ever occurs to me when absorbed in a good book, but I do occasionally use music as part of the writing process. On the site for her novel My Memories of a Future Life, my wife Roz has a series called "The Undercover Soundtrack" in which she talks to authors about the music they use to unlock the muse. In her own words:
"If a novel could have a soundtrack, what would it be? Writers often have a secret ur-score that helps them shape their world, understand their characters and unfold their story."
This week, Roz talks to fantasy author Katherine Langrish, acclaimed author of several fantasy novels for children and young adults, including the Troll Fell trilogy. For her latest book, Dark Angels (US title The Shadow Hunt*), Ms Langrish used the troubadour songs of southern France as part of the creative process; "I needed the plangent, plaintive music of the 12th century to understand my lead character's pain," she explains.

If you're interested in good fantasy literature and how it gets written, the interview is right here.

Odd btw that the US edition has a much more evocative title, but is marred by a cover that seems to have been taken from a Mills & Boon bodice ripper of the early 1950s. Don't look (via the Amazon US link above) unless you have a high tolerance for saccharine and chintz. The UK cover, which you can see here, is no Mozart symphony but at least I'd say it passes the old grey whistle test.