Sometimes you fall in love with a place. Never mind that it has not been in existence for several hundred years, or at least not in the family anymore.
But it was once. Tony Clegg-Hill (original name Huel) was the previous Viscount Clegg-Hill, and my late cousin. I adored him.
Tony would regale me with anecdotes about the family home and villains: the original Viscount Huel, who was basically a henchman for William the Conqueror. More recent rogues like Sir Rowland Hill gambled away anything that could be taken as a stake. It’s a damning history, yet a vibrant one. But not all the family were black sheep; one Lord Hill distinguished himself as the second in command to the Duke of Wellington at the battle of Waterloo. When Wellington was made Prime Minister in 1824, Hill succeeding him as commander in chief of the army. The coat of arms (which illustrates the family tree with all the crests of family intermarriage) is twelve feet long.
So when it came to writing Rowena and the Dark Lord, I had to feature my favorite place. The original Norman castle, with its rounded turrets, crenellations and merlons has been in my imagination for decades. Rowena walks through the wall to her ancestor’s land, and she falls in love with it too.
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Melodie got her start writing comedy (stand-up and columns.) In1999, she opened the Canadian Humour Conference. She has over 200 publications including 100 comedy credits, 40 short stories and 4 novels. Her fifth novel, a mob caper entitled The Goddaughter’s Revenge (Orca Books) will be released Oct. 1. She has won 6 awards for fiction, and was a finalist for both the 2012 Derringer and Arthur Ellis Awards.
Melodie is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. Her humour column ‘Bad Girl’ appears in The Sage.
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