Do you love the Brontes as well as magic and romance? Then GET READY because one book is combining them to create something truly special. Meet Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley.
Below you’ll find some info about the book, a behind-the-scenes guest post from Lena and a chance to win some sweet book swag!
Blog Tour: Worlds of Ink and Shadow
I’m participating in the Worlds of Ink and Shadow Blog Tour hosted by Chapter by Chapter.
Every day from January 4-15th, different blogs will be featuring different content, as well as opportunities to win a copy of Worlds of Ink and Shadow and a super cool Bronte gift basket. Check out the full blog tour HERE.
About Worlds of Ink and Shadow & Lena Coakley
Title & Author: Worlds of Ink and Shadow: A Novel of the Brontës by Lena Coakley
Genre: Young Adult – Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Lena Coakley was born in Milford, Connecticut and grew up on Long Island. In High School, Creative Writing was the only course she ever failed (nothing was ever good enough to hand in!), but, undeterred, she went on to study writing at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Toronto, Canada. Witchlanders is her debut novel.
Researching Worlds of Ink and Shadow
by Lena Coakley
I did a lot of research for my book, Worlds of Ink and Shadow, but the thing that most helped me to see the Brontës as real people, not just historical figures, was traveling to Yorkshire, England to see their former home.
The Brontë parsonage sits at the top of a steep hill, on the edge of the village of Haworth. Go one direction and you will soon be at the Black Bull Tavern and the main road leading into town. Go in the opposite direction, however, and you will find yourself walking on long stretches of hilly, grassy land, too acidic for growing. These are the famous moorlands that feature so prominently in both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
The first time I visited Haworth, I spent most of my time hiking on the moors. I walked from the Brontë Parsonage all the way to Top Withins, the lonely farmhouse that is thought to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. This took me past Sladen Beck, a stream that was a favorite spot of the young Brontës, where Emily liked to sit and think on a rock that is shaped like a chair. Sheep are everywhere, many in fenced pastures, but many more seeming to stroll freely along the dirt paths.
The parsonage itself is surprisingly small. (Modern pictures show an addition that wasn’t there at the time.) I had read about how Charlotte and Emily shared a room and Anne had to sleep in a bed with her aunt, but seeing first hand how tiny the rooms were brought home the austerity of their lives.
Now a museum, the parsonage contains furniture that the Brontës actually used, including Patrick Brontë’s desk and the sofa that Emily Brontë died on. In glass cases are exhibits of clothing (Charlotte was really small!) and—my favorite—examples of their juvenilia (childhood writings).
Originally created for their toy soldiers, much of the Brontës’ juvenilia is contained in miniature books written in tiny handwriting. Even after they were too old for toy soldiers, the habit of using tiny lettering continued, perhaps as a way of keeping adults from reading their increasingly scandalous melodramas.
On my second visit to the parsonage, I got serious. Before I left, I emailed the librarians at the museum and asked if I could study in their archives. I especially wanted to read transcriptions of these childhood writings I had seen behind glass in the museum the year before.
When I got to the archives I was amazed to find that only two scholars are allowed in at a time, and materials are so valuable that we must be accompanied by a librarian at all times. I was lucky to be accepted, and heard librarians turning down scholars over the phone while I was there.
I was also amazed by just how much the young Charlotte Brontë and her siblings wrote. Before she ever put pen to paper to begin Jane Eyre, Charlotte had written scores of novels, each one getting her a step closer to the book that would make her famous. I had thought of the Brontë sisters as three women who had turned to writing as a last resort and somehow—miraculously!—had each written a great novel. What we learn from their juvenilia is that all three sisters had long apprenticeships as authors that started many years before Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey.
In the end it was these childhood stories of the Brontës that inspired me to write Worlds of Ink and Shadow.
Worlds of Ink and Shadow Giveaway!
Contest ends January 29, 2016:
- 1 winner will receive a “Bronte” gift basket filled with surprises from the author!
- 10 winners will receive a copy of Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley
- 5 winners will receive a black bonnet (similar to the one found on the Canadian cover)
Good luck! I hope you enjoyed all the info about Worlds of Ink and Shadow!