The Historical Cornish Environment—a land of Smugglers and Secrets …
‘A separate people. Throughout the early modern period, many Cornish people continued to regard Cornwall, not as an English county, but as a British country, called Kernow. … ‘
‘Physical isolation provides the key to Cornish history. A rocky peninsula, jutting out some 90 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, Cornwall stands at the extreme south-western corner of the British Isles. Surrounded by waves on all sides but one, it is practically severed from the adjoining lands to the east by the River Tamar, which runs almost from sea to sea. Although mediaeval Cornwall was – technically speaking – an English county just like any other, the culture of the ordinary Cornish people remained entirely different from that of their English neighbours. They still spoke in the Cornish tongue: a language, closely allied with Welsh. They still prided themselves on being descended from British ancestors, rather than Saxon ones. And, as late as the mid-16th century, they still possessed their own styles of dress, their own folklore, their own naming-customs, their own agricultural practices and their own games and pastimes.’
So the past economy of Cornwall might have been based on a range of industries, including metal mining, fishing, china clay production, wool cloth manufacture, quarrying and ship building. Indeed Cornwall’s rich mineral resources may certainly have been exploited on a large scale since medieval times and rows may rage today between surfers, environmentalists and those bent on lifting the tin tailings sitting on the sea bed to be used in gadgets like phones and computers, Cornwall is also known, historically for another ‘industry’. A sort of ‘cottage’ one in that rather a large number of its inhabitants were involved. And one that the landscape and environment lent itself to naturally. Smuggling.
But the location as described above, the fact the people saw themselves as different weren’t the only things to lend themselves to the trade. Parts of the actual coastline were very nicely placed for trips to France and the Scillies. Then there was the nature of the terrain, vast empty beaches, rocky caves, jutting headlands, little better than cart tracks for roads—and, as a quick glance at any map of Cornwall will show, quite a big expanse of moor sitting smack in the middle, while the inhabited bits cluster round the coast. It was nicely private all right.
At its peak, an estimated 500,000 gallons of French brandy per year were smuggled into Cornish coves. Smuggling has many stereotypes and these images often include a small group of men unloading barrels in the night. However, until the early 1800s it was a highly organized, well financed business that was run on very efficient lines.
Of course the reason for all this unhindered smuggling wasn’t just the highly organized locals, it was the weakness of the excisemen, although in their defence, the level of local support, the sheer organizational skills of those involved, which frequently included the clergy, the landowners, in fact, you name it, and the overwhelming numbers of those involved, made it quite impossible, even for the most dedicated exciseman, to police. So a lot went right on under their noses, in broad daylight.
“They were told that if they persisted in trying to make an arrest they would have their brains blown out. As the law now stands, I fear a criminal prosecution would have been useless for the reason, which it shocks me to mention, that a Cornish jury would certainly acquit the smugglers….These, my lord, are the facts.”
Did the tramp, tramp of smugglers’ feet, the alleged digging of tunnels from houses, damage the rock, the wild flowers, the beach grasses, the environment? I have no idea. But, since reading books set there and further along the south coast, I felt the ruggedness, the isolation, the sometimes crumbling decay of their own lives, that drove people into this world, might lend itself to a book someday. And it has. Finally. Set not only in Cornwall but at a point when the government was beginning to fight back and seriously crackdown by every means at their disposal. I hope this book trailer roughly explains it.
Lady Fury. It’s Fury you little creeps. And if you think I am sharing my treasured fudge recipe from my treasured kitchen, you have another thought coming. A big one.
Lady Fury. Only something Shehanne got me involved in without the common decency to serialise me first.
Lady Fury. But since this has to do with being on Kindle Unlimited till February, we will say nothing.
Lady Fury. Except that we are going last.
Lady Fury. Indeed Shey having examined her two remaining contracts held by a publishing house, and seeing she owns the subsidiary rights, I may well even be going behind Malice and Brittany which is beyond shocking if I say so myself. You would have thought she’d have held off in order to let me go first. May I just say however you have no idea how hard it is having such a selfish author. But I will say that … Manga? Well, this is how books are often read in the Asian market, where Amazon is not a big deal. Buying and electronically reading each chapter as it becomes available is, so it is of course, when you consider the size of the Asian market, a golden opportunity for me to be read…and did I mention fan/reader forums? No. Well it is also an opportunity for me to be discussed there.
Lady Fury. Yes. And given the company Shehanne has signed with expanded a few months ago have just moved into taking onboard Western romance, so in that respect I suppose it was no bad move on her part to consider this venture on my behalf, especially as the rights that were signed for are the non-exclusive ones on the five books she holds the rights to.
Shehanne. That’s very gracious of you to say so, Fury. What I would like to add, if I may be so bold as to get in a word here, is that as authors we are always looking for new markets, chasing the reader, the event party, keeping up with social media, etc. etc. and this was one market I was not only unaware of but one that shows the importance of aiming your work, in the first place, at a particular market.
Shehanne. Apart from the above? Probably being open and willing to look at new horizons, especially one that does the marketing and pays a good rate of royalties, one where you’ve nothing to lose by signing the contract offer actually. Then you need to break the books into chapters. Again this market isn’t much interested in shorts. All novels must be over 50 thou words and there must be over 50 chapters — when you break it down that is. So each chapter has to be no less that 1000 words and no more than 2000. It’s meant a small bit of adding some words here and there, say when a ‘section’ was coming in at fifty words short or it was possible to break 2900 into three chapters by adding that extra 100 or so. Also, where there’s a series, they put the books out as one big follow on volume, so suddenly you are typing a chapter 125 heading because you start the chapter headings for the second book after the last chapter of the first book. But that’s been it and once you get going it’s not that hard to do. I have always preferred to write in shorter sections anyway than muckle great chapters because I have worked in graphic comics.
Lady Fury. Oh God, Please. For the sake of common decency. No.
Shehanne. You never know. A hamster can but hope. For Christmas presents too…
May everything you touch wither to dust.’ Cursed? Or just unlucky? Shehanne Moore
‘The question is this. I cursed you. I cursed you and your brothers –”
“One of whom—”
“Blew his brains out at midnight. Do you seriously think I didn’t trouble myself to find out?”
“Oh, I’m sure-“
“May everything you touch, turn to dust.”’
Cursed? Or just unlucky? Nice to think it’s the latter but legends of curses permeate practically every culture in history. from entire families to items—jewels especially—but places too. It would be good to say we just like someone to blame misfortune on but then again, some folks don’t seem to have a lot of good fortune, do they?
Let’s take my new heroine, Destiny who is the victim of just such a curse…
“But the fact was that curse uttered for nothing had killed Ennis, as surely as if Divers O’Roarke had pushed his carriage down that ravine that night.”
It’s very convenient to believe that all the loss and tragedy that follows Destiny about like a bad smell is the result of that curse, when it was probably on the cards anyway. Also, at the time she was cruising for the proverbial bruising, causing besotted men to shoot each other, this could just have been a wind change in her life, a what-goes-round-comes-round time. But then again, the loss of a mother, father, brother, husband and more in the space of two years, not to mention another brother becoming an alcoholic, does seem the kind of misfortune that would give the Kennedy family a run for their money in the cursed stakes.
And I think that is where curses have their power—superstitious–but even so. Would you really want to flout a curse by wearing the Hope diamond for example? Or indeed by then touching someone who was cursed?
“From Land’s End to Launceston people avoided her like she had the plague. In fact it was probably from Land’s End to John O’Groats. She couldn’t get another husband even if she wanted to.”
Whether it is balderdash or not, if something goes wrong after you flout a curse, well, you are probably going to blame the curse and wish you hadn’t done it, even if curses may, or may not exist. The Rhodes family aren’t alone in being cursed. Other famous families, in addition to the Kennedys, include the Hapsburgs, the Grimaldis, the Hemingways. I guess the Romanovs weren’t exactly what you might call lucky either.
Of course big families like that, in terms of being newsworthy, of having wealth etc., are always going to find their bones being picked over by the ‘lesser mortals.’ And the Rhodes family have that local standing.
‘She was a Rhodes and Rhodes were all about living life to the hilt.’
Big old house, family tree going back centuries, suggestions of links to pirates, definite links to smugglers. Legends surround them, like Raven’s Passage, said to stretch from their family seat, Doom Bar Hall, all the way to the beach, a fabulous place stuffed with golden treasures.
It’s easy to say that some of these real families were cursed when you can point to the actual curse itself, how it came to be uttered and who was responsible. Rasputin, of course gets held responsible for cursing the Romanovs but as a family they had plenty of misfortune before that. Nicholas II’s father and grandfather didn’t exactly fare brilliantly either and Rasputin never cursed them. But then the times they were living in were pretty explosive. No pun intended actually. Just pointing out the possible carnage/ill heath rate which brings me to the Brontës, another family that might be construed as cursed. Equally fame eventually touched them, so we know of their lives. But their deaths were the lot of entire families especially given the unsanitary conditions of the time.
The thing about curses? I honestly think you pay your money you take your chances…NOW go open the voddie and do Cossack dances.
“He cursed you, me, Chancery. You most of all. Think how different your life would now be if he hadn’t uttered these damnable words. When Chancery loved Rose. Wanted to marry her, for God’s sake. That Divers O’Roarke didn’t know is no damned excuse.”
“I am thinking. And I’m thinking we are the life we live. Its graces and its pain. And while we may not always have any control over it, we can control what we do about it. But if you want to believe in a load of old gypsy mutterings and superstition and hold it responsible for the fact you can’t walk past a drink, without feeling obliged to down and then drown in it, that’s your choice. This is mine.’
O’Roarke’s Destiny – by Shehanne Moore
A REBLOG OF ARTGOWNS, DESTINY GOWNS AND A REVIEW FROM RESA BY RESA
Is the line between love and hate so fine you can’t see it? If you can’t see it, can you cross it?
Some women are attracted to bad boys. Are some men attracted to bad girls? What if a good boy became a bad boy? What if a bad girl became a good girl, even when she was bad?
That’s just part of the passion play in O’Roarke’s Destiny. The intrigue, mystery and small matter of an effective curse cast by Diver’s O’Roarke is the story’s action.
It’s 1801, Cornwall; a time when women needed men, more than men needed women. Or, so society knew. 1801, Cornwall; Destiny Rhodes needs no one, nor anything: save Doom Bar Hall, its servants, Aunt Modesty’s porcelain, Lord Tredwynne’s antique armour, Grandfather Austell’s stuffed parrots, garlands in the hall at Christmas, her garden and all the embroidered pillows sewn up mended. At least that’s what Destiny was thinking.
However, it all seems somewhat moot after Divers O’Roarke wins Doom Bar Hall, from Destiny’s drunkard brother, Orwell.
It’s a world of smugglers, pirates, excisemen and extreme danger, yet, Destiny needs only her instincts. She’s in over her head, but owns a drive to do what has to be done to get to the bottom of what is going on, and retain a position to remain at Doom Bar Hall.
Still, Lyons busted her illegal casks of spirits. Who tipped him off? Mostly, why did Divers O”Roarke take the fall for her?
💥 BREAKING NEWS! 💥
There’s gowns in the story.
Tragically, Destiny’s dear husband Ennis, while in his carriage, had cascaded to his death into a ravine.(credit to the curse) Now, Destiny is in an eternal mourning in black. On top of it all, she has pined away her body’s curves, and chopped off her luscious long black hair.
Divers O’Roarke wants her, but black is for widows. He has won Doom Bar Hall … fair & square? So, her gowns are his, to sell at his pleasure. Yet, his pleasure is far from the few bits of coin he could get for the gowns. What he wants is to see Destiny, in any gown other than widow’s black.
Eventually, Destiny must wear a gown for him. She dons her least sexy gown, which is in Egyptian blue. (I don’t have that colour in my caddy, but I came up with an eau de nil). This colour is not her best, possibly her worst, definitely her most disliked.
Yet, what Divers O’Roarke wants is to see her in her most vibrant and glorious red gown. Will she wear it?
1. How did the idea of a curse come up? Are you superstitious, dabble in say; Tarot or Astrology? How/why did the curse entail everything turning to dust? Why not turn to toads, a lowly insect or even a hamster? (a little cheek)
Oh, now there was a time I did some work for a psychic journalist. I did once say what haven’t I done writing wise and other way wise when it comes to earning a crust. And yes I also did some Tarot work for her too as part of that. So I did learn the cards. At that time I also could do card readings from playing cards. I had a great aunt who could do the tea leafs. That totally fascinated me growing up. I think much as we may mock it, we do want to know a bit about what’s ahead, that HOPEFULY there’s a corner that will be turned or some good luck coming. As for the curse idea? Well, the book started about a house that the heroine had lost. And that idea came from us having to sell up our family home and me jokingly saying to a friend, I should just have flung myself in with it as a housekeeper. Then I thought BINGO idea for a book here. And it started out as fun and frothy but there were things on the table that weren’t right. Like why didn’t the hero just put her out? How can he be so besotted with this family when they were horrible to him as a child? Was light and frothy going to sustain a book? Then for some reason I saw their pasts and how and why he had cursed her and how everything had then gone wrong in her life since. Everyone she cared about has died. So she gets this name locally that way. Now if only I had thought beyond the box though, you are right. He should have said may everything you touch turn into a hamster dude. But then she’d have been overrun. That might have been a worse curse. 2. Your use of humour helps in feeling the underlying intense emotional states of Destiny and O’Roarke. With Destiny it’s the simple practical day to day things she plans to do the next day. With O’Roarke, it’s what to dig his grave with. Did you intend these character’s personal thoughts to be a humorous relief? Or did it just turn out that way?
No. Firstly I always like to use humour of thoughts. We all have them, let’s be clear. Maybe not about graves and what to dig them with etc., but we do have little idiosyncrasies and of course we are not always aware of them either. And I also know my readers expect to have a few giggles. So I couldn’t not. My characters always have some kind of wee saying or attitude. One heroine had sliding scales of things. Another would sooner swallow a crocodile than do whatever and as the book went on, that list grew and grew. One hero–my most impatient one–had Christ on various things. I did feel this book would be a bit dark if I didn’t have these bits. They are neither of them in the best place emotionally. However I then have the prob of her being a widow and I did NOT want to tackle it by having her thinking well, she was widow, thank God, because she had every reason not to have loved her husband. I felt that was a get out. So I thought if I had her, having been hit so hard that her way through is to line up tasks and tick the boxes, that that actually could prove quite humorous, especially if she’s so busy lining up these tasks, while people keep ‘getting in her face’ she doesn’t see how deep the waters are getting. It was like a wee you may think wink to my readers she’s going to be incandescent with rage the way my other ladies would be, but you are in for a surprise here. She’s too busy thinking she has that cushion cover to sew and that stool to mend. In a way these are the things that also need to be prised loose from her fingertips.
Doom Bar Hall was called after Doom Bar sandbar in Cornwall. Given I wanted to write of curses and smuggling, and not such great emotional states, I wanted something dark sounding and it is quite a fearsome sandbar I gather, responsible for hundreds of ship wrecks down the years. Originally before I went from frothy to dark, from Hampshire to Cornwall geographically, the house was called Lavistock and the book title was the Lady of Lavistock. Divers wasn’t called Divers O’Roarke either at that point. I just felt all round this was stronger. I do like to create a pervading mood and landscape for each book. This became the one here.
Resa, I want to thank you not just for inviting me here today, but your wonderful friendship AND the talent and readiness to use it to create gowns, for all those you create gowns for AND that includes my ladies. They and I salute you.
Here’ s the first drawing I did of Destiny. I was trying too, hard with the chopped off hair look. Yet, I still like it, because she looks like a pirate courtesan, with hair for an eye patch. Yet, perhaps this is a more correct visual introduction to Destiny.
Shehanne Moore is a native of Scotland, Dundonian by birth. She is the author of many Romance novels.
Having read 3 (almost 4) of her books, I can say her attention to the details of an era puts one in a different time and place. You don’t question it. You are there.
As for the flame of love she burns with her words, I suggest you read a book to see the fire!
A cover for one’s book can be as daunting as writing it. After a great search, Shehanne found the image below. The colours were wrong, but they were made right.
Eye’d like to thank all who took the time to read this post. Love you all!
Destiny Rhodes – Seriously? And I’ve nothing better to do than sit chewing the fat with a lot of moaning skunks?
Destiny Rhodes- Looking at you? Well, maybe that’s cos there’s sod all else to eat in the God-forsaken place now Divers O’Roarke is running the show. Mind you, him and that sidekick, that Gil Wryson, have never had hamsters on the menu. Yet anyhow. Otherwise you can it as read, the ceiling is a lot more interesting.
Destiny Rhodes- Won’t I what? Sorry, I wasn’t listening there. Give tips? What on? Something I don’t have? I mean you see me sat here, with a smile pasted to me face and all? Ask yourselves, why don’t you, would I be able to do that if I had what you say?
Destiny Rhodes– of course I can. And I can get on with all me tasks too. Right now these in order include, mending the bedroom footstool, sewing the dining room cushions, getting the wassail bowl out of the attic, it’s not THAT long till Christmas after all, and hopefully not having Divers O’Roarke, that Wryson man–don’t get me started on how fanatical he is–me brother, or please call me John, that Lyon creep, getting in me face. So that then I can go lie down and dream of my husband, Ennis. Anything less makes me a bad person. And while I don’t mind being thought of as that locally, I’m sure you can appreciate that I don’t want to think of myself that way where he is concerned. But doing all that in the day, you can see how much I need that rest? And when I don’t get it, well my thoughts retreat. My head feels panned in.
Destiny –When they are my life, the things I cling to in order to cling to something and assure myself that my world is set? Maybe. I don’t know. Life is an unknown journey after all. But I tell you it won’t be for want of the times Divers O’Roarke gets in my face. Breaking the best china, insulting me Grandfather Austell’s stuffed parrots, throwing out Sir Tredwynne. Oh and other things. All manner of things actually. Messes I got myself in.
Destiny Rhodes – Damaged goods with a death wish that one. And such a man of mystery. Do you know that’s why I’m here today without him. He’s not allowed to be interviewed because you wouldn’t know what to interview him as. And there’s games not going to be given away here. But thank you for having me and now, if you don’t mind I’ve a new shortbread recipe to write down. May I just say that looking at you lot has quite fired me imagination that way…. Made me feel a bit more like my old self….
Destiny Rhodes– Me? Dance? Not since my Ennis died…. That ship has sailed. Nah. I’m thinking how tasty that recipe might be….
“Well, I’d ask you in—properly, that is–but I’m afraid, as things stand, I wouldn’t know which parts of the house are mine to ask you in to.”
”And why is that?”
“You mean Divers O’Roarke hasn’t told you?”
”Yes. And pigs fly all over Cornwall. High in the sky. When we all know he probably has. And if he hasn’t–got to you yet that is–he’s probably on his way as we speak. It will be to tell you what a liar I am and how he’s split the house because of it. Obviously I didn’t come to Penvellyn sooner because I had to wait for me opportunity to do so. Anything more would have aroused his suspicions when he caught me talking to you earlier.”
“You are going on rather a lot about Divers O’Roarke, Miss Rhodes.”
“Only because he is a skunk.”
She set her coat on a chair, smoothed her hair back from her face. Actually she wasn’t going on about him half as much as she could.
“But you did have something to tell me? It’s why I’m here,” Lyon said.
Did she? When what she really wanted was to go upstairs and look out her recipe for lavender shortcake too. Maybe find some way of lighting the fire when her nose was pinched by the cold. The distance was there, spread like a long road in front of her. But really, she wasn’t getting much chance to go it. Not with the kitchen probably barred to her now the house had been sawn in half. In fact the way this was going, that recipe was about as much as she was going to get.
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“I hope so.”
Right. Well, she didn’t. Did he have a point though? Was she perhaps going on about Divers O’Roarke instead of applying herself to what was important, like finding that recipe? She’d given him his chance. And very good of her it was too, even if she wasn’t sure what she’d have done if he’d taken it. Some might say she’d never have gotten Doom Bar Hall for a start. And she was inclined to agree. Maybe for that matter Divers O’Roarke had banned her from half the house in order to spark a reaction in her? In which case she’d be failing in her duty not to give him one, now she’d gone to the wire and he wouldn’t come off the fence? Lyon hadn’t come all this way to leave empty handed. Had he? He wasn’t here for a cup of tea either. And it was time to deal with that fact. Whatever she’d determined earlier, living or dying required a roof over her head. She passed her tongue over her lip.
I don’t usually do this.
Only because Jane Hunt can’t get her reviews on Amazon. Thank you. Now do we want the Cleanser here, or not…
And as Destiny, my high functioning depressive heroine says
“Really? And I’m the Man in the Moon. I go out at night and I fly up into the sky in a pair of silver breeches and shine me light on the world.”
Indeed it is Friday the 13th, not the best day in the world to release a new book on BUT then again, it is about a curse. It is also a book about two emotionally bereft people and features a heroine who is what is called a high functioning depressive. She will be along next week to talk more about that.
I made the decision many years ago that I didn’t want to write about people–hamsters either before you interrupt–whose lives were perfect.
Which of us, in reality, has that kind of life? But, as today approached and after the many hair tearing moments I had on this book, especially trying to get in humour that was respectful to an emotional state…well… humour I know my readers expect, let’s just say there were plenty times I thought sometimes the path less chosen is indeed less chosen for a purpose.
That is why it was wonderful this morning to step online to a DM Facebook message from Jane Hunt, an author and reviewer who had an ARC rough copy and who does not shrink from pulling her punches. I want to thank her for that message AND also her review. This is my seventh book and my day, unlike when I released my first two, was to be spent getting on with my present WIP, the household tasks etc. But now I AM going to at least treat myself to a wee pre-Fri evening drink with my Mr. Oh obvi by pre I mean pre Friday nite meal with wine back here. But special days should be celebrated. I think Jane’s review has encouraged me…
…because I felt she got my leads AND after what I said the other week about this being the shortest on secondaries book I have written, she still felt the story was inclusive, the world of the two leads. So yep, I am sharing this review AND the post I wrote for her about the things that inspired Destiny You can look away now if you don’t want to know the score.
‘Cornwall in 1801 rife with smugglers and excise men trying to catch them is the setting for this clever, passionate and witty novel. Destiny Rhodes is cursed, everything she touches turns to dust. All she has left is Doom Bar Hall, her ancestral home, and now even this is in jeopardy.
Divers O’Roarke is a man with an agenda and so many secrets. He left Cornwall in the wake of tragedy, but not before he’d cursed the young woman he thought responsible. Now he’s back, the victor, but what he finds is not what he expected. What he feels is not what he thought, but he has a mission, and being turned to ashes by a cursed woman is not part of it.
The setting for this story is atmospheric and authentic. The subtle use of historical detail, lets you visualise nineteenth-century Cornwall. The sinister smugglers, the close-knit community, the rugged beauty of the coast, and the ethos of danger and suspicion, Amidst the roaring sea and windswept coastline, the story of two people, both emotionally bereft, and driven unfolds.
The dialogue is sharp and amusing, and the internal musings even more so. You spend a lot of time in Destiny and O’Roake’s minds, and they are both full of confusion and conniving.
The plot is pacy and twisty. Just trying to work out who O’Roarke is, keeps you guessing. Then there’s the exciseman Lyon, who becomes increasingly sinister. This story is inclusive, you feel part of the deadly game Destiny and Divers are playing, experience their anger, bewilderment, fear, and the passion they cannot hide. The intriguing plot comes to an intense conclusion, revealing who Destiny and Divers O’Roake are in more ways than you can imagine.
O’Roarke’s Destiny’, is historical romance for the twenty-first century. Complex mind games, passionate, sensual romance, and a fast-paced riveting plot that rides the waves of time. I’m looking forward to meeting the next ‘Cornish Rogue.’
Guest Post – Shehanne Moore – Inspiring Destiny
Firstly Jane, thank you so much for inviting me here today to your wonderful book review blog, which is such a help to authors and for your continued support. Always appreciated.
I actually got the idea for O’Roarke’s Destiny the night we sold our house back in 2014. Yep, a while ago and I actually started it when I finished the Viking and The Courtesan in 2015 and put it aside because other scheduled books got in the way. I’d lived in this particular house for almost 30 years and it was a hard house to leave for many reasons, nor was this necessarily a chosen thing. Although looking back now I don’t know what I was worrying about. Anyway, the first night the house was on sale, the second viewer arrived—the dad of one of my pupils who lived along the road. I thought they’d come about something to do with the lessons. Anyway, he soon dashed that hope when he said, ‘I will make you a good offer tomorrow morning first thing. I have already put my house on sale in the hope and prayer of this one. But I know this must be upsetting for you, so don’t show me round, I was burned on the house sale three doors along a few months ago, so you don’t have to.’ And he was as good as every word. Well, as I joked to a friend a few days later, I should have said, ‘And I come with this house. I just need a room.’ Then I thought … bingo, idea for a book there.
Ideas, mind you, are nothing like what ends up on paper. This book started as a frothy battle over a house that only starts a few years later when the hero brings home another woman, a fiancée and the heroine housekeeper doesn’t like this and she discovers her own feelings for the hero. While this had its merits, another idea—a stronger one–formed, that was to start the book at the point where the house has been lost in a card game to a man where there’s past history. But, this seemed a little contrived, given this man has been sort of lost to the world for years. What was he even doing back in the neighbourhood? So I suppose my next piece of inspiration was in the books of Daphne DuMaurier, the smuggling, piratey books I’ve long loved. Having tackled, pirates, Highlanders, Vikings, I’d wanted to do a book about smugglers. Where better to do that than in Cornwall? Why not make that world the backdrop to the story.
Books aren’t just nothing like the idea that you start with—well mine never are, alas–they are about keeping the story going. There’s only so many times two people can argue about the choice of dining room wallpaper for example or the fact that that’s the best antique dishes sitting out at the bin, so while this starts out as a battle over a house, that is only a first layer, with lids to be lifted on a couple who are slogging it out over so much more within themselves and where they are in their lives when the story opens. And that’s not actually the house at all.
“Some say the Cleanser is an exciseman gone to the bad…..”
The Cleanser – That would be telling.
The Cleanser – That would be telling.
The Cleanser – That would be telling.
The Cleanser – That would be telling. Now, before I get back out there and prove even more terrifying and elusive, as I menace my way through Cornwall on dark and stormy nights, you have one more question. Do try and make it count and not waste it on fripperies such as am I really that fearsome, am I one of the five, or does Lyon eat hamsters? Who said what, and didn’t, how fair, or otherwise not, it is? And please do not interrupt. Have you any idea what happens to hamsters who interrupt, especially with more questions?
The Cleanser–Who, amongst you, will be brave enough to ask this question?
The Cleanser. They are not amongst you. YOU are amongst you. Now ask or face the consequences.
The Cleanser – Dear, little hamsters, why else but to spread a bit of butter on you and have as toast.
But I will add that in a world of secrets and smugglers and did I mention unsavoury–not looking at anyone here, although you hamsters do smell a bit-
– wreckers, Shey rather liked the idea of upping the anti. Who can, for example, resist having a tale of smuggling without the various ingredients? Don’t answer. You are not the ones being interviewed here.
So secret passages, treasure that is the stuff of legend, stormy nights, old houses, ghosts and of course mythological figures are all part of that tapestry. Shey thought about how in Jamaica Inn the heroine does not know who the head of the wreckers is but obviously if her uncle is scared of him, then he must be fearsome because her uncle is that and more–although she used someone who is also the stuff of legend differently.
Things had begun to change for smugglers in the period O’Roarke’s Destiny is set, shall we say?
Tom Berryman had behaved as if the devil had crossed his path and this one looked to have horns.
And let’s remember in this book nothing is what it seems. A little mystery does no harm sometimes. As a figure the Cleanser does not drive the plot. There’s no need to when everything the leads do arises from the three magic writing words, where they and only they, are concerned, goal, motivation conflict.
Does the Cleanser really exist? If they do are they one of the O’Roarke five and if so which one? That’s for me to know and you to find now. Now, if you don’t mind I believe I have some vodka to drink and a Cossack dance to do before I get back to terrorising the locals? Oh and one last thing… my eyes are not flamingos, what they have is a flaming glow….
Releases Friday 13th…it is a book about a curse after all…..
SHEY : Dearest Silv, may I say how very kind of you it is to ask me here today to my blog. I just can’t get over it. The great honour it is. To answer your question about Lizzie I wrote her out because she had no further use …
SHEY. Yes, Lizzie-alas–was adding nothing to the plot.
Nor did I need her after chapter one for the main reason I use a secondary character, that is to hold a mirror to a lead in some way, their personality, their actions, perhaps show them as I did with Dainty and Mitchell Killgower in The Writer and The Rake, in a better light and also I suppose not to make the whole thing too claustrophobic –as I also partly used Susan for in The Unraveling of Lady Fury, and give Fury a sort of confidant. Lizzie was not going to fulfil any of these things and letting her stay was going to change how I saw this book. So why have her? There’s also a one scene appearance by a few children, but while they are contributing to the story there, they’re what you might term decorative extras. Spear-carriers in theatrical terms.
Overall I don’t work with a huge cast of speaking characters but I do generally work with more throughout.
Shey. Indeed I think we got that. The world of Doom Bar Hall itself, despite being smack bang in smuggling and wrecking country, is a tight world. Destiny is a loner, probably a high functioning depressive who bashes through her daily routine and set of tasks with tunnel vision. She’s not one for friends—she’d never been what you might call popular, except with the men she drove to distraction years previously–and she confides in nobody, the family were larger than life that way locally. She’s a product of that family. So to have put in a single scene where she does would have been wrong for her as a character and unbalanced the book. Divers may swagger into that world full of confidence and control, underneath he’s a man on the edge, holding it together and no more. I won’t give away too much of the plot by saying why he’s at this stage when the book opens. He has a sidekick, Gil, to show there’s another side to him and to mirror some of this ‘disintegration’ but that’s it re Gil being there.
And because he could be trusted. A hard thing to come by, not just in this world but the world he inhabited. That dancing, dark and shady place of gnarled shadows and twisted paths, haunted by the need to keep one step ahead where nothing could ever be as it seemed. Not even himself.”
There’s reasons for Orwell–Destiny’s brother
face as long as a six fiddle cases, and twenty four rainy days,
and as for Lyon?
Shey. He has quite an appetite.
You knew everything but nothing of what he was really thinking. Hand him a farthing out the goodness of your heart and he’d still need to know where both came from. The farthing and the goodness. Probably your heart too.
Shey I think it’ s important when you are creating a world for a book and I try with each book to create a world, to think of the things that help show it. And for me in this book it wasn’t the wider smuggling picture which is actually central to the story, but the putting of this hero and heroine and what unfolds in this world between them, centre stage. I felt that could only happen with a small playing ensemble, so even the servants had to go. I think it’s sometimes something to consider in terms of cementing a setting, depending on what that setting is. This one was not the world of ball gowns and dance cards and it’s not a pretty one of smuggling either. And now before you open the voddie and do the Cossack dance… a book trailer.
Once he’d have died to possess her, now he just might…
Beautiful, headstrong young widow Destiny Rhodes was every Cornish man’s dream. Until Divers O’Roarke cursed her with ruin and walked out of Cornwall without a backwards glance. Now he’s not only back, he’s just won the only thing that hasn’t fallen down about her head—her ancestral home. The home, pride demands she throw herself in with, safe in the knowledge of one thing. Everything she touches withers to dust.
He’d cursed her with ruin.
Now she’d have him live with the spoils of her misfortune.
Though well versed in his dealings with smugglers and dead men, handsome rogue Divers O’Roarke is far from sure of his standing with Destiny Rhodes. He had no desire to win her, doesn’t want her in his house, but while he’s bent on the future, is there one when a passionate and deadly game of bluff ensues with the woman he once cursed? A game where no-one and nothing are what they seem. Him most of all.
And when everything she touches turns to dust, what will be his fate as passion erupts? Will laying past ghosts come at the highest price of all?
September 13th 2019 Black Wolf Books.