Katie Welsby's eerie Blaisdell Chronicles are set in Briggstow, the old name for Bristol, where reclusive teen Lucy has been having dreams of herself in another time, another world. In the present, life gets confusing when she is pursued by both the gorgeous Alex Craven and the brooding Nathan Harlow. Soon, Lucy realises she must find out the truth about her past to secure her future.
Hi Katie, thanks for taking part in this blog series, showcasing the new writers I have worked with. Could you tell us, what drew you to tell this story?
I enjoyed history in school, and often wondered what it was like living in different time periods. Of course, we have diaries and pictures, but I would like to actually be able to see, smell, and feel who our ancestors really were. Not everything is available for us, so I had to try to picture myself there, and consider what my life would have been like using historical evidence as a guide. The rest was down to imagination.
You decided to explore Lucy’s past-life in the Regency era. What attracted you to this time period in particular?
I had considered the Tudor period, as that is an age I loved studying in school. But I also loved the Romantic era, the Regency period. For that, you can blame Jane Austen! As a teenager, I read her novels, and loved all the detail. I loved their outfits in those days, the bonnets, the pelisses, and the empire waist gowns. They looked so elegant and feminine! If anyone ever invents a time machine, the Regency period would be my first stop.
Can you tell us a little about the research process?
I am fortunate to live near Bath, Somerset, where most of the town still has its Georgian origins in its buildings. I would walk around on the cobblestone streets, looking up at the old signs and try to block out the cars and imagine horse-drawn carriages instead. I also re-read Jane Austen, and watched some period dramas to help visualise my settings. In Bristol, where I am from and the location of the story, there aren’t as many buildings that are still Georgian. But with my imagery from Georgian Bath, and my own research, I installed that idea over modern-day Bristol, so underneath it’s still Bristol, but the layer on top is from the past, much like icing on a cake.
How important was the setting for your novel to you? How familiar are you with the places you describe?
I thought it would be a good idea to have the story based where I am living, as I know a lot about the area. It also made for some interesting research. The places in the story are all real, with just the names altered slightly. An example is when Viscount Avon inherits his home, Avon Court Estate, other Bristolians might be able to pick up that this is Ashton Court Estate.
Can you tell us what’s next in the series?
Well, the series will be part of a trilogy, so it won’t all be plain sailing for Lucy. In book 2, which I'm currently working on, we still see Lucy and Nathan together, but they need to work hard to maintain their relationship and remember that they love one another, despite outside conflicts. Lucy also re-encounters another face from her past. Friend or foe? We shall see…
Can you pick a short extract from your novel and tell us why it’s important to you?
“Swords equal pain, violence, even death,” I reply, ignoring his concern. “Is this what I would marry into? A man skilled only with the sword, yet not in the arts of friendship, understanding... love?”
I inch closer, passing the hilt into his hand.
“Swords do not make the man, Mr Macey.”
In this scene, Lucia has met Jonathan who’s been sparring with his trainer at the request of his father. She knows he’s unhappy with his role in life, as he tries to be the man society wants him to be. But Lucia doesn’t care what others think, and already believes him a true gentleman. She already sees who he really is and is the first to truly accept him.
Benefit from professional help in preparing your manuscript for publication.
Thanks, Katie! 'In the Shadows' is available on Amazon here.