in the west of England, long ago…
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. My particular place of love resides back in the days shortly after the Battle of Hastings, in a corner of England more known for sheep than people.
There is a piece of Shropshire that claims a part of my heart. The original castle, erected after Harold fell to William in 1066, went to ruin in the early 1500s. The ‘new’ abode, Hawkstone Park, was built in 1556; it was forfeited in 1906 to pay off the gambling debts of my rakish relative.
Tony Clegg-Hill (original name Huel) was the previous Viscount Clegg-Hill, and my late cousin. I adored him. He had that particular dry British wit that reminded me seriously of David Niven. It was his great-grandfather who lost the castle.
Tony would regale me with anecdotes about the family 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 Through the Wall, 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.
Melodie Campbell’s comic novel Rowena Through the Wall (Imajin Books) is available at Amazon.com and Smashwords.
Follow Melodie at Funny Girl Melodie
View trailer and read opening scene at http://melodiecampbell.com