Today I'm thrilled to have best-selling science fiction/fantasy author Rosalie Skinner on the blog. Her popular series, Chronicles of Caleath, is taking a new turn. I caught up with her recently ... Tell us more about your new seafaring series. What
inspired you to look to the oceans? My love of the ocean began during my childhood when
I spent weekends at the beach or watching the ocean.When each of my children turned sixteen they were
able to take a ten day trip on the Australian training ship, the Young
The experiences changed their lives, for the better and began my
fascination with today’s tall ships. Living in a harbour town I have had the chance to
take a day trip on a tall ship, spend many days aboard sailing vessels whale
watching and even explore the replica of the Barque Endeavour. My son has taken whale watching trips for many
years now and it is exhilarating and inspiring to meet these gentle giants ‘up
close and personal’.
Whenever I visit a garden, I’m drawn to the quietest corner, imagining how to recreate a mini-oasis of calm and inspiration.
Recently, I had the luck to visit Wallington in Northumberland, and found the perfect niche.
A joyous combination of modest asplenium ferns, alchemilla and lobelia set in a Regency-era horse-shoe enclosure facing the sun.
Frosted greens and navy are definitely my favourite combination for tranquillity. Add a lichen-encrusted stone feature, a bench and sundry hostas in pots, and I’m in heaven.
A small, naturalesque waterfall gurgled discreetly, reminding me of a wry comment by Alan Titchmarsh, amused at a large garden fountain, commenting that ot sounded like a large equine relieving itself into a deep trough. Oh, dear. I still can’t walk past ostentatious water features without wondering where the nearest loo is.
I may never aspire to the view they have at Wallington, but when we move house, I now have my wish list.
Cragside is a superb Victorian
house in the North-East of England with an unusual claim to fame –it’s the first home to be lit using hydro-electric
power. It’s also well known for other
gadgets inspired by the owner, Lord Armstrong, a Victorian inventor, innovator
and landscape genius whose engineering skills made him a fortune. There’s a hydraulic lift for the
servants, for example, and the first electric dishwasher in the world.But some eerie personal
coincidences have made the place even more fascinating. I’ve been working on a sequel to
The Lost Orchid, a tale of botanical skulduggery in the 1880s when orchid fever
was at its height. (Doing the research I became something of an orchid addict - see Orchidmania, a small blog of mine.) Ferns were massively popular in Victorian England, and much
has been written about pteridomania, so I thought a fern-themed sequel would be
appropriate. It seemed a good idea to move
the action further north and this is when I came across Cragside and its…