One of my favorite books of last year was Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart which is a book that is currently only available in Australia. Thankfully I have some good friends in Oz and I was able to get a copy of it sent to me here in the US. I fell in love with the story and the world that Rhiannon created and was insanely curious about what the world looked like and the places that inspired her story. Thankfully, Rhiannon caved to my pestering and wrote up this lovely guest post for me as part of her blog tour for Blood Storm which is the second book in this fantastic series that I am dying to read.
The Places and Things that Inspired the Settings in BLOOD SONG and BLOOD STORM
There was no specific place that inspired the country of Amentia or the castle there that Queen Renata and the Princesses Lilith and Zeraphina live in, but making Zeraphina’s home a little inhospitable was important to the story. I dislike the cold, so it became cold. Big, draughty stone castles that are falling apart must be very disagreeable to live in. And lonely, too, when you’re poor and nobody visits. I visited several castles while in England, particularly on the Cornish coast in winter, and they were terribly withered.
|Tintagel Castle, Cornwall
Big, bright Pergamia is the antithesis to cold, miserable Amentia. Have you ever looked at a big, white building on a sunny day at noon? It’s blinding. I wanted to palace at Xallentaria to dazzle Renata, Lilith and Zeraphina as they approached. It’s white with gold detail and little blue roofs on the turrets. That feeling of being dazzled inspired Xallentaria more than anything.
Pergamia is explored further in Blood Storm, when Zeraphina and Rodden visit Rendine, Ercan and Jefsgorn. Rendine is a small town, and the river and millwheel were inspired by a visit to my aunt and uncle’s village in Norfolk, England.
|The river in my aunt and uncle’s village in Norfolk, England
Ercan has a orphanage called Fallowood, and the name is a variation on Lowood, the charitable institution Jane Eyre is sent to as a ten-year-old girl in the novel by Charlotte Bronte. Jefsgorn has a dock, and as I was writing about it I remembered a visit to a pier in California when I was sixteen, I think in Monterey, where there were seal lying on the cross beams below the boardwalk, so I put them in too.
I don’t know where Lharmell sprang from, but I was thinking about somewhere inhospitable, and “hard” and “burning” seem to be it. I did a very little geology at university, and very badly too. I couldn’t point out a feldspar from an igneous formation. But some bits of it seem to have stuck. Particularly the phrase “black volcanic glass”. What a delicious set of three words that is, just the sound of them in your mouth. So Lharmell is made of hard, black volcanic stone, eroded in place to make black soil, devoid of any vegetation except hard, black trees. And it’s all poisonous to boot. I visited Greece last year and island hopped alone. The island of Santorini is probably the inspiration for mythical Atlanta. It’s a crescent shaped island, the entire middle and far side having been blown out by a massive volcanic eruption. I took a boat out to the caldera in the centre and was stunned to see the place that I’d described in Blood Song, hard, black and inhospitable. It was like walking around on Lharmell for a while (except for the searing heat.)
|The caldera at Santorini, Greece
Verapine is where Leap and Rodden hail from; the capital of Pol specifically. The setting wasn’t inspired by a place I have seen myself, but rather read about. Gregory Roberts’s epic Shantaramis a gorgeous read, even more amazing due to it being partly autobiographical. (My god, you think as you read it, which parts?) It’s set mostly in India, and he describes his initial impression of the slums, first as horrified, then as beautiful. I tried to capture that in Blood Storm, Rodden’s delight and affection for the city upon returning home, and Zeraphina’s disgust at the squallidness of it all.
|Gregory David Roberts’s Shantaram
There is a massive inland delta in Botswana called the Okavango Delta, where a river empties not into the sea as rivers normally do, but onto plains which periodically flood. Again, not a place I have visited, but seen on a David Attenborough documentary. I really want to visit it one day.
|Okavanga Delta, Botswana
Thanks so much for having me, Gail!
Learn more about Blood Storm on goodreads
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Check out the first chapter of Blood Storm here
Visit the other stops on the Blood Storm Blog Tour
SEPTEMBER 20: Inkcrush
SEPTEMBER 21: Refracted Light
SEPTEMBER 22: Little Book Owl (Blood Song)
SEPTEMBER 23: Intrepid Reader (Blood Song)
SEPTEMBER 24: The Rest is Still Unwritten
SEPTEMBER 25: Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic
SEPTEMBER 26: The Tales Compendium
SEPTEMBER 27: Larissa Book Girl (Blood Song)
SEPTEMBER 28: The Eclectic Reader
SEPTEMBER 28: Beauty & Lace (Guest post)
SEPTEMBER 29: Treasured Tales for Young Adults (Blood Song)
SEPTEMBER 30: Ticket to Anywhere (Guest post)