BLOG TOUR: Katharine Orton

Good morning guys!

I hope you’re all okay! I have another brilliant guest post today and as I read it, it filled my heart with such joy. You all know I love a bit of mythology and folklore and today’s guest post, from the brilliant Katharine Orton, is all about that! Her brilliant new book Glassheart is out now. (One of my girls is currently reading my copy and she is LOVING it!)

“Nona and her uncle travel everywhere together, replacing stained-glass windows in war-torn buildings. When a mysterious commission takes them to the lonely moors of Dartmoor, Nona discovers a wild and powerful magic which threatens everything. Can Nona protect those she loves – even if it means fighting darkness itself?”

***

How I tried to turn Glassheart into its own folktale

I love folktales. I love them so much, in fact, that I wanted Glassheart to feel like one.

Luckily for me this involved doing one of my all-time favourite things: reading up on folktales. As an enthusiast for them I already know a fair few (and I’m a keen follower of Twitter’s own #FolkloreThursday). But I decided to look into some based particularly in Dartmoor, which is where I also wanted Glassheart to be set.

And boy, I wasn’t disappointed! From the tale of prophecy and tragedy linked to Crazywell Pool, to the legend of Vixana, the vengeful mist-raising witch, Dartmoor is steeped in lore. It’s as if the windswept wilds of the moors attract tales of otherworldliness and the uncanny.

But how was I going to give Glassheart the folktale feel? Well, it involved a bit of what my son calls ‘magpie-ing’. In other words, I took inspiration and elements from a few of the folktales I read and gave them my own special spin (maybe you’ll even be able to spot where the stories I’ve mentioned actually crop up in the book). And I also went walking in Dartmoor. I tried to get a feeling for what it was about the place that had inspired so many tales of the mysterious and the uncanny that people of the past and present had whispered to one another, and to write that into the fabric of my story.

The key to folktales of course is that they are spread by people and – traditionally at least – by word of mouth. So I approached Glassheart as though the reader is sitting on the shoulder of our hero, Nona, seeing and experiencing all the weird and wonderful things that confront her, discovering all the magic and mystery right along with her.

Information is passed from person to person in the story too (in some cases from spirit to person!). I hoped this would give readers the feeling that they were being let in on real, secret information – no matter how fantastical it turned out to be.

And once you’ve been led far enough into a folktale world, where magic is so often real and nothing you used to think of as true can be taken for granted? Well, then, you’re entangled now. If you want to learn more, it’s wise to keep heading deeper into those woods. Just watch your step – I hear there are rattlesticks about…  

***

A massive massive thank you to Katharine for this brilliant guest post. This blog tour promises to be full of absolute wonder, so please remember to check out the rest of the tour! Thanks to Walker Books for inviting me to be on the blog tour and for sending me a copy of the book! I’m so excited to prise this out of the hands of my class and read it!

S x

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