I hope you all enjoyed my Halloween event. Thank you so much to everyone who attended and for all the contributions made to make this event possible.
This is the last post of this event. Tracey-anne McCartney has recently had her debut novel, ‘A Carpet of Purple Flowers’ published.
The ramblings of a debut author
~ Slipping through the veil of worlds on All Hallows Eve/Samhain
Merry meet at the time of year when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.
The old year has passed and sunset on Samhain marks the beginning of the Celtic New Year. So what better time to introduce my very own new beginning ~ A Carpet of Purple Flowers.
I believe that a certain magic is carried from our soul through to our creations – be it a piece of art, dance, poetry or form of storytelling, etc. With this belief in mind, I hope that I can spread a little magic your way.
My mind raced as folklore came entwined with love, fate entwined with choice, science with spiritual teachings – all guiding me to write a romance that revolves around a karmic cycle.
Magic is many things, but for me, it stems from love, that unseen force elusive to science, baffling all logic. Learning to love yourself can be one of the most difficult lessons, but eventually, we can learn to let go of the things that no longer give our life purpose, though it can take time. Often, we go through life in automatic mode, sticking with what we know or feel comfortable with. The main book character Bea, discovers that strength comes from an inner light which secretly masks eternity.
Let me share with you a secret place, in which only a parted veil exposes. Briefly visit an ethereal plane in which Otherworldly, angelic-type beings, tend to a well of souls. It is there, in Calageata that the purple flower of Vororbla (karma) grows, emitting a thick mist, ready to greet the essence of a soul.
Love and light,
When did you begin writing? Have you always envisaged being a writer?
As a child I was pretty creative, of which my hippy upbringing definitely encouraged. My beautiful, incredibly diverse family and friends have always been supportive of any crazy project that I threw myself into, usually involving art or writing. I’ve never envisaged myself as a writer, more a mixed media artist with a very active imagination. ;o)
Without any of high tech stuff we have today: TV, phone, internet (godsend), etc. (Wow, I sound ancient!). I often found myself sprawled over the bed writing or drawing. I would immerse myself into a world of fairies, sunshine/moonlight and Otherworldly realms. I’m not so very different now. ;o)
Tell us about the novel, title, and what inspired you to write?
The novel revolves around the life of a young woman named, Bea. She works in a secondhand bookshop in SW London. One evening, her normal quiet life turns upside down as she slowly starts to unravel a secret past after an encounter with two sects of an Otherworldly race. She soon discovers not everything is what it seems. A Carpet of Purple Flowers is a story of love and growth.
Once you read through the book the relevance of the title becomes clear. There is a certain scene that captures it’s importance beautifully. I used ‘Purple’ in all of the trilogy titles as it relates to the flower of Vororbla – a soul flower. This connects all souls in an ethereal home called, Calageata.
Purple is the colour most often associated with royalty, magic, and mystery, it is also the most powerful wavelength of the rainbow.
What POV do you use?
I write in ‘Third Person Omniscient’. I completely resonate with this style of writing, perhaps due to the way I see my initial story idea play out as a film in my mind – via scenes. When you watch a film there are different camera viewpoints, I use this method in writing. I focus on the scene/character that I need to tell the story in that moment. It works best for me as I’m an extremely visual person. :o)
What theme is strongest in your book?
Romance essentially, a karmic cycle of love. Elements of folklore mingled with my own imaginings.
I’ve tried to create a story that feels real, incorporating places that actually exist. Such as, Coldfall Woods, and Inchmahome Priory in Scotland. More information can be found on the book website.
What would you like readers to come away with from your novel?
Ideally, the message that no matter what happens in this crazy life, to always keep your inner light bright and to believe in yourself. We all have ups and downs and when you’re at your lowest ebb, to remember that the magic begins within.
‘Keep your light bright’ – Is a phrase used throughout the story.
The Otherworldly use the word ‘Ameusouya’ (Am-e-us-ou-ya) meaning complete/whole (you, me, us =one).
All are inspired by the word, Namaste.
Who are the authors that inspire you?
The crystal cave – Mary Stewart, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, There are too many to mention here, pop over to Goodreads to see some of the books I’ve listed – ongoing.
I read a lot of non-fiction, I have a thirst for knowledge, especially of anything that involves folklore/art.
Possibly one of my favourites is ‘The mists of Avalon’. I really resonate with this type of theme – the goddess, ancient wisdom, etc.
Devoured ‘The Game of Thrones’, and at present I’m on the fourth book of the ‘Outlander’ series by Diana Gabaldon.
I also really enjoy Dan Brown’s style of writing, his play of fact and fiction – very clever. He excites the mind, daring you to apply your own research, to see things a different way. His books have interested many readers that wouldn’t have normally read that genre/topic.
Oh, let’s not forget WB Yeats, CS Lewis, Conan Doyle, Fiona Macleod / William Sharp, and many, many others.
Do you see yourself as a one genre author, or are there other elements in your writing that you can see yourself developing in the future?
Hmm, I see my story as being quite diverse, and hopefully, my writing reflects this too. Actually, when I was trying to decide on what genre ‘A carpet of purple flowers’ would fit into, I noticed that it contained various elements – undertones of spiritualism, fantasy, paranormal and romance. I would really like to see ‘Spiritual Romance’ become a stronger genre in the future.
I would love to create a little separate book of the Sindria elementals. How they came to be in more detail and to include the ‘The Heaven Stone’ teachings. While editing, I had to condense the book and really don’t want to lose those parts. Perhaps, I’ll write a book on the Deisi too, their original purpose, origins, etc.
It would be quite interesting to create Jonathan’s journal, including artwork – via collaboration of other artists. Little steps. :o)
What inspired your book?
Another story, ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ was floating around inside my head for about two years prior to ‘A carpet of purple flowers’. Everything stemmed from the visual inspiration of a small, serene waterfall existing in a world far from prying eyes, hidden in a glade by dense woodland. Opposite the waterfall stood a large, ancient Oak tree which later became the focus of a special meeting.
This visualization was initially a place for me to rest my busy mind before drifting off to sleep, but one night, a young woman appeared by the waterfall, her name Enna – and that was the starting place of all my later writing.
I knew that ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ would take quite some time to write, as quite complex. So, I decided to start from a place that I knew well – SW London. This story very quickly grew into a bigger tale, and would need to be a trilogy – A Carpet of Purple Flowers. It was then that I decided that ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ was to be the fourth book, a pre-history, stand-alone addition.
Is there a lot of research involved in your writing?
Ha! Ha! Yes, there is. I never stop researching. ;o) My mind needs to be permanently fed information, not that it all stays in there. I research everything, then sift through what I feel is relevant to the story. There are few notebooks that I use to store factual, mythical information, and I usually refer back to that at a later date – cosmology, astrological, historical, pieces of lore etc. I find it all extremely fascinating – soul food.
Do any of the characters in the book relate to your own life?
*Giggles* I think with any writer some element of the self flows onto the pages. I probably relate mostly with Bea, the main character. However, I can also see a bit of myself in Kitty, Pia and Asta – depends what mood I’m in. ;o)
A Carpet of Purple Flowers is your debut novel. How does it feel to be published?
Absolutely amazing. Matthew at ‘Urbane Publications’ has created a wonderful concept, an author ‘family’. He truly delivers on ‘collaboration’. I’ve been able to discuss areas such as cover design, and most of the publication process, not many publication houses offer such unique involvement. The other authors have been fantastic too, and genuinely care about each other’s progress – it’s such a humbling experience.
Overall, writing my first book has been a very positive journey. Yes, there’s been some very difficult moments when I have questioned myself/abilities, but something has pushed me on – the need to share the ‘Otherworld’ that lives in my heart.
Absolutely none of this would’ve been possible without my super family, old friends and new, for supporting me through this whole process. Woohoo! Exhale…it’s finally there! ;o)
Thank you too Sonya, for asking me to be a guest on your blog. It’s been a pleasure.
‘Keep your light bright’
Publisher: Urbane Publications – http://urbanepublications.com/books/a-carpet-of-purple-flowers/Book
Book Website – http://www.traceyannemccartney.com
Author Bio – http://www.traceyannemccartney.com/authors-bio.php
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/Traceyannemccartney
Tracey-anne’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/jasmoonbutterfl
Matthew Smith is giving away 5 copies of ‘A Carpet of Purple Flowers’. To enter just leave a comment telling me what you think of the cover.
Terms and Conditions
This competition is open worldwide.
The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 14th November 2015.
The winners will be randomly chosen and notified within 7 days of the closing date. Their details will be given to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.
And now for a guest post by Tara Guha.
The Pen is Scarier than the Sword…
One evening a couple of years ago I was writing a scene towards the end of my novel, Untouchable Things. It was late, it was dark, I was alone in the house and my character Rebecca was in severe peril. I suddenly became aware of just how late, dark and lonely it was. I mentally panned back from myself and could see how I looked, illuminated by the desk lamp in my little study, back to the door. I reread the words on the screen. And I instantly shut down the computer and put on every light in the house.
The funny thing, of course, is that it was myself I was fleeing from. I wasn’t frightened by someone else’s words or imagination but by my own. This was different from reading Pet Sematary as a teenager and having to make sure I was in a room with other people at all times. This time I was in control of what was happening in the fictional world. And somehow it didn’t make things all that better.
It made me reflect that perhaps what frightens us most is not what’s out there but what’s in here. Our own minds are capable of going to the darkest of places, as most children find out when they start to grasp the concept of death. Who hasn’t lain in bed unable to sleep while their mind plays out distressing or catastrophic scenarios? In a sense writing fiction gives me an outlet for those dystopian fantasies; it’s a way of channelling and transforming my dark side into something that can exist and be contained outside of me. Perhaps it’s not so different from dressing up as a ghoul or a blood-splattered vampire for Halloween – it’s getting out the creepy stuff out where we can see it, parade it, and perhaps in so doing, vanquish it. For now, at least.
There’s a scene in Untouchable Things where the characters perform a modern version of a mummers’ play. The tradition of mumming, where a group of actors would travel from house to house performing plays, is almost certainly where some of the Halloween traditions such as dressing up and trick or treating have their roots. In my character Seth’s words, “Mumming pageants were used to draw out the populace’s fears, give them some sort of voice and then dispel them. Keep the dark side under control and everyone on the moral straight and narrow.” Certainly Seth uses the mummer’s play to allude to the secrets and lies that are lurking in the room. The effect on the other characters is both unsettling and strangely cathartic.
Could it be then that it does us good to delve into stuff that frightens us now and again? Is that why children love Halloween and adults watch The Killing or read increasingly graphic psychological thrillers? Strangely, as I was writing this, my daughter emerged sobbing from a bad dream and I explained (having rapidly minimised this blog) that her brain was probably processing her deepest fears, playing them out in a safe (though distressing) way. Our instinct is often to repress our fears so that they don’t cripple us, but perhaps too much repression is bad for us. Perhaps seeking out fear in a contained way – a scary book, a rollercoaster, a walk in the dark – provides a release and ultimately helps to keep our deeper fears under control.
So this Halloween, I’ll definitely take the opportunity to get a little creeped. Maybe I’ll watch a horror film, or even write a scary story. One friend confessed to me that the night she finished Untouchable Things she had to sleep with the light on. This was a reaction to a character who had got under her skin; for me there is no need to turn to ghosties and ghoulies to scare us when human nature provides such a fertile furrow. It takes us back to my poor character Rebecca, left in severe peril not so much from her situation but from me. What did I finally do with her when I rebooted my computer (in daylight)? Well, you’ll obviously have to read the book to find out.
But maybe not on your own in a quiet, dark house.
About Tara Guha
Author of ‘Untouchable Things’ (September 2015)
Tara Guha is the winner of the 2014 Luke Bitmead Bursary and Untouchable Things is her debut novel. Born to an Indian father and English mother Tara spent her childhood in the Ribble Valley, passing many a wet day writing poetry and music. After studying English at Cambridge University she embarked on a career in PR, promoting artists including Placido Domingo, Paul McCartney and Dudley Moore. Over the years she has also worked as a freelance journalist, counsellor and charity worker and is also a keen amateur pianist, singer and song-writer. Tara lives in Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire with her partner and two daughters.
You can read find out what ‘Untouchable Things’ is about here:-