Posts Categorized: Inspiration

Inside Plato’s Cave

In The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, Kat and her fellow students at the Rookskill Castle Children’s Academy in the fictional burg of Craig on the coast of Scotland are taught by instructors brought in by the Lady of the manor. Their English instructor, Miss Gumble, has them study the Allegory of Plato’s Cave. This… Read more »

Lady Macbeth

One of the reviewers of The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle pointed out that a chief character in the novel is “a tragic figure, almost a Lady Macbeth”. You might or might not remember Shakespeare’s tragedy, so here’s a bit of background that may explain why I love that comparison so much. (Note: I’m deliberately… Read more »

Scots Words

I didn’t use many Scots dialect words in The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle. Using dialect is tricky. Too much and people get turned off. Too little and the story doesn’t sound authentic. But the Scottish language is so rich and varied. It’s often said that the Inuit have more than 50 words and phrases… Read more »

Magical Scotland: Magical Creatures

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle is set in Scotland for a number of reasons. First, the magic “lives” in a chatelaine (you can read more about that in my previous post) that is a European jewelry. Second, it felt right to place the children in a castle, with its dark, spooky corners, large scale,… Read more »

The Chatelaine

The original title of the novel was Chatelaine. You may be reacting to that title the way that the Viking Children’s marketing department reacted: What in the world is a chatelaine? Because they feared that young readers would have no clue, we changed the title. I love the word, and it forms a crucial part… Read more »

“The Secret of the Old Clock”

In The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, Kat Bateson is a logical girl who idolizes her father. His hobby is clock-mending, and Kat spends her time with him learning about the inner workings of clocks, including the moment when he lets her help with a clock repair: Her hands had trembled a little as she… Read more »

The Clandestine Machines of War

When Father brought a short-wave wireless home a couple of weeks before leaving, he’d shown it only to Kat. “Here, Kitty. Have a look. I knew you’d be interested. Just keep it under your hat.” During World War 2, clandestine stations broadcast news from the Allies into Nazi-controlled Europe, and those stations could be accessed… Read more »

The Blitz: “Keep Calm And Carry On”

In The Charmed Children, Kat and her brother and sister are shipped out of London, as were many children, in an attempt to escape the Blitz in the fall of 1940: The cab splashed through deep puddles and rain pelted the roof. They passed mounds of rubble, men in their clinging wet work clothes clearing… Read more »

England’s Entry Into World War 2

In The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, Kat Bateson faces change in the early days of World War 2: The pieces that made up Katherine Bateson’s world were scattered across the landscape and over the ocean, far and wide, blown about by the winds of war. Kat herself felt like one of the clocks in… Read more »