Monday, 29 July 2013

People of the Green Mounds

We raced to the top of the hill – to be the first to stand on top of the fairy mounds.

They say that if you listen carefully on a calm summer’s evening you can hear the fairy music playing.

They also say that should you fall asleep on the mounds the fairly folk will steal you away and you will never be able to return to your own world.

But we know it’s a tumulus – one of the many Iron Age burial mounds that line the hills in this region; the last resting place of someone who once lived and roamed this land – but is now forgotten.

Yet they were deemed worthy of a memorial to last millennia. And I can’t help wondering who they were.

This is what fascinates me about lost civilisations – a handful of artefacts and the rest is guesswork. And for a civilisation like that of the ancient Celts who had no writing but an oral tradition instead – when they were gone their words were lost.

What other civilisations have come and gone without our knowing?

Monday, 22 July 2013

The Once and Future Island

I stood, looking up at Glastonbury Tor from the Somerset levels. This flat coastal plain has been drained since the Middle Ages – a patchwork of water meadows and drainage canals, which, before, was a fenland landscape of reed swamp and willow.

Glastonbury itself has been inhabited since the iron age, and the tor is believed by many to be the Isle of Avalon of Arthurian legend, rising from the wetlands in the days before the fenlands were drained.

But being so low lying these meadows are vulnerable to flood. The whole region is only slightly above sea level and, in the past, frequently flooded during high tides. Sea defences, built in the early 20th Century have stopped these floods – but for how long? How much will the sea level have to rise before these defences are breached? I fear it may not need much.

3000 people drowned during the flood of January 1607. Farmland was destroyed and livestock swept away. In the world of Red Rock this whole region would be under several metres of water, and Glastonbury Tor would once more be an island.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Mixing and Mingling

One of the best things about being a writer is all the wonderful people I’m starting to meet – not just in the virtual world – but in the real world too.

Yesterday I headed up to London for the AM Heath summer party. What was so lovely was meeting many of Julia’s other clients – people who I know only via social media or through reading their books – not to mention so many other interesting people!

We sipped champagne in the garden as the sun dropped behind the trees, and talked about books. What better way to spend an evening.

But now, back to work. There are only two months until Red Rock hits the shelves and there is much to do; blog posts to write, a launch party to organise – and, hopefully some school visits.

And I will be participating in the forthcoming Yeovil Literary Festival. I’ll let you know more when they finalise the schedule.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Joining Together

Sometimes bloggers work best as a team. There are a number of really interesting collaborative blogs out there, and being a collective definitely has its advantages.

For instance these blogs are updated regularly – sometimes every day – something which is not possible for a lone blogger – I’m lucky if I manage a post a week – way below what is recommended for a successfully blog. These blogs also have the advantage of being able to reflect a range of perspectives, and to keep themselves fresh as new contributors join.

Over the past few months I’ve been lucky enough to get involved with a number of such projects.

The first one of these is Seamagic. A collaborative blog set up by Phillipa Francis. This is a blog that celebrates all things maritime and it is an absolute delight to be part of it.

The next two collaborative blogs I’m now a member of are more focussed on writing. One Four Kid Lit is a group of YA and Children’s authors who are debuting in 2014. They also include a few, like myself, who actually debut this year but missed out on joining the 2013 group. Most of the authors are American.

However, the other group I’m a member of, Author Allsorts, are all British YA and Children’s authors, some well established – others, like me, just starting out.

Do check out these blogs, you’ll find them interesting and vibrant. But for me the best thing about these collectives is the wonderful people I’m getting to know.