Monday, 17 July 2017

Spooky Settings That Inspired Robyn Silver - Paula Harrison

Paula Harrison is back with the next book in the action packed 'Robyn Silver' adventure series. I absolutely loved The Midnight Chimes and The Darkest Dream is even better. The boldest, brightest new heroine has returned: and Robyn Silver’s life hasn’t got any quieter since defeating the evil vampire Pearl in The Midnight Chimes. She’s now a fully fledged Chime Child and monster-hunter-in-training alongside best friends Aiden and Nora. The three suddenly start seeing nightmares -  in the form of black beetles - appear around town. Who wants the people of Grimdean to be losing sleep - and why?
To celebrate the release of 'The Darkest Dream' here is a fantastic guest post from Paula Harrison about places that helped to inspire her. I don't need to say anything about the fact that this is actually a list of some of my favourite fictional places...

Five spooky settings in stories that helped inspire Robyn Silver: The Darkest Dream
One of my favourite parts of writing Robyn Silver was inventing the spooky settings. Some are classically spooky such as Grimdean House, a mansion with monsters imprisoned in the basement, secret tunnels inside the walls and a barn full of bats in the garden. Sometimes I enjoyed the thrill of turning a familiar place into a spooky setting, such as the time Robyn and Nora meet a monster at a park, skulking behind the swings. So here are some of my favourite spooky settings that helped inspire my writing.
Thornfield Hall
Thornfield Hall in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté is the classic gothic mansion. There are odd noises at night and strange laughter, and a suspicion that someone or something is haunting the corridors. Jane Eyre prides herself on being sensible but she can’t help being affected by the eeriness of Thornfield.
Willoughby Chase
The house in The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken uses some of the same Gothic tropes as Thornfield Hall. The mansion is very grand and full of unexplored corners. It’s bitterly cold and wolves have migrated to England, making it incredibly dangerous for the characters to venture outside. This added peril and the bleakness of the winter makes Willoughby Chase a striking and memorable setting. Joan Aiken maintains a constant sense of threat both within the house and without.
Howl’s Moving Castle
The door to Howl’s castle, in the book by Diana Wynne Jones, is a portal that opens on to four different places. This idea is used to brilliant effect by the author. The main character, Sophie, feels trapped during early parts of the story but ends up regarding the place as her home.
The village of Huntercombe is where Will Stanton lives in The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. This ordinary English village, based on a place in Buckinghamshire, is the backdrop to a fight between the forces of the Light and the Dark. Susan Cooper is a master at building atmosphere and familiar places including roads (Oldway), the manor house and the church are used to build tension. The ordinariness of these settings makes each spooky scene feel more real.
Alderley Edge
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner is set in Cheshire around Alderley Edge. Garner chose to set the story in a real landscape and this gives the action even greater impact. The use of the mines in the story is a particular favourite for me, as Susan and Colin are trapped inside and have to find their way out without alerting the hundreds of goblins (the svart alfar) that live underground. But like The Dark is Rising, the eeriest moment is when the forces of evil besiege the farmhouse they’re staying in. The familiar setting makes action far more chilling.

About The Author

Paula Harrison is a best-selling children's author, with worldwide sales of over one million copies. Her books include The Rescue Princesses series. She wanted to be a writer from a young age but spent many happy years being a primary school teacher first.

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