Hi, Jo here.
I recently went on a little trip north, mainly to celebrate a wedding anniversary with friends, but it also let me visit a place I had in the back of my mind when I envisioned Perriam Manor in Seduction in Silk —Astley Hall. The outside isn't right, but years ago, I had been impressed by the amount of dark panelling and the heavily ornate plaster ceilings. Ornate plaster ceilings aren't that unusual in grand houses, but these are in rooms of quite modest proportions as you can see at the right. They do feel rather oppressive, and of such substance that they might fall on one's head!
In the book I describe them as swirls of plaster, but that's my memory failing me.
I found they are detailed and this was apparently achieved by carving the designs out of wood and then plastering on top. Cheating, I suppose, but impressive. No one knows who created them.The next picture shows some detail. Sort of ghoulish, isn't it? Like a skeleton. I wish I'd remembered that detail!
Finally, one of the bedrooms, which is almost exactly like the one I saw when writing the opening scene, when Perry arrives at Perriam Manor to find his cousin Giles dying, a curse on his mind.
If you've read Seduction in Silk, do these pictures fit the image in your mind?
We also went to Chirk Castle on the Welsh border, which I was surpised to find had relevance to Crag Wyvern, the faux medieval keep in The Dragon's Bride, which therefore also plays a part in A Shocking Delight, which follows on with the story of the new Earl of Wyvern and his search for a bride.
I'll share more about Chirk another time.
Have you ever visited a house that seemed ideal as a setting for a historical romance? Which one, and why?
This all reminds me of the magical Thorne miniature rooms in the Chicago Institute of Arts. They are recreations of rooms from all periods and by detail and use of light they feel as if you could just walk into the them.
There are examples on line. Here's one. Can't you just imagine some of my Mallorens strolling in there?
Lastly, my publisher recently did a cover reveal for A Shocking Delight, out next April. We're all so pleased with this one we felt it needed a fanfare. Isn't it gorgeous?
Lucy looks as young and pretty as she is. She doesn't always find it works to her advantage, especially when trying to be taken seriously.
Anyone note a slight implausibility in the picture, though? If so, I'll tell you how it relates to Chirk.If not, you'll have to wait.*G*