As with buying real estate, where the story takes place is important.? If I had set Christmas Cracker in Long Beach, nothing would have worked.? So I set it in Cumbria, Northern England.? Okay, so what did I know about Cumbria?? Not as much as I needed.? Time for a road trip around northwestern England.? Work, perhaps, but fun work.? Since I had a rough, rough draft of my book (then suffering from the title A Grievous Fault), I knew most? of the settings I needed.? Knowe Castle, for one.? But I needed to see some places that really existed and find buildings like those in the book.? Naworth Castle near Haltwhistle provided the inspiration for Knowe Castle, although Lord Langley doesn’t live there.?? His name came from Langley Castle Hotel, which is a beautiful place about 13 km from Haltwhistle.
Notice the stone wall along the road.? They are all over England.? Fortunately, I was quite familiar with narrow roads running between stone walls (also known as dry stone hedges) and driving on the left side of the road (no, not the wrong side, as some of my American friends have said) because I had lived on the Isle of Man for four years by then.? Nonetheless, you don’t do a lot of one-handed, high-speed driving on those roads.? The idea for Lord Langley’s rather elaborate stable came from Chesters Stud in Hexham, which is an independent business near the road rather than a private stable behind a castle.
Mighty fine housing for horses, if you ask me.? I also did some research about horse racing, since a champion race horse is involved in the story.? No, unlike Silver Blaze, he did not kill anyone.? Hopefully, that’s not a spoiler.? My next post will talk about my night in a Haltwhistle pub, learning about British horse racing.? Same Bat blog, same Bat website.
The walls are stone and far more damaging than brick if you hit them. Fortunately, I never did. The item on the cover is a Christmas cracker. If you check the book out on Amazon, the cover page tells you about it. They are a big tradition in the British Isles. I’m sure even the Queen has them at her Christmas dinner.
As to rating my book, I would say PG at worst, since it does have a little violence. Language-wise, I kept it pretty clean. Definitely no “f-word” type language. No sex scenes, graphic or otherwise. It’s not that kind of book. My next book, Foul Shot, is more graphic and, while not porno or erotica, would probably not be to your liking. I am, however, working on two more mysteries, another Morg Mahoney one and one about Father Robert Bruce. Both will be like Christmas Cracker, so if you enjoy it, keep watching this website.
I loved it. Good info, especially on the sites and even the name of the brick walls. I was wondering what that thing, or those things are in the same pic as the gun? If your book was rated, what would the rating be? I don’t like a lot of swearing and especially the f word, and don’t like it too racy in the sex dept. Don’t want to put you off, just like to buy books that agree with me. lol Sounds good so far.