Here are a few of the images that inspired me during the writing of the book:
Stokesay Castle in Shropshire, the place on which I very loosely based Wolfestone
It was first built in the 13th century, originally a medieval manor house, though fortified because of its location on the turbulent border with Wales.
I loved the different bits that had been built on and added to over the centuries, the mix of fortress with fairy tale — not to mention some half-timbering.
The Gargoyle, pictured at right, is also from Stokesay Castle. When I saw this old carved wooden gargoyle I just had to put him in my story. He has such a wise and benevolent expression. Certainly a gargoyle to talk to…
If you want to find out more of the fascinating history of Stokesay click here.
A New Life
I once attended a very old school that had hollows in the steps, worn down by thousands of childrens’ feet over time. I loved the thought that I was stepping in the same place as the feet of children a hundred years before. When I saw these steps, I remembered that fascination, and gave it to my heroine.
At right, the Chapter House Steps at Wells Cathedral © RIBA … which I borrowed to become the worn stone stairs of Wolfestone
I thought these paintings, of women bathing by Jean-Léon Gérôme were beautiful. He seems to have made a specialization of erotic oriental scenes. They were very popular in Victorian times.
And yes, there is a bathing scene in the book. Not quite like this, though.