It was my pleasure to drop into With Love For Books – Suze, Tanya and Anniek run this blog that has something for every book lover! I guest posted with a piece about the ‘other’ old property in Secrets We Keep and included are some lovely photographs of Ballyhannon Castle in County Clare, courtesy of Margaret Moore owner. Ballyhannon inspired me while I was writing about Rock castle which features in the story. You can see the post in it’s entirety here:
And in case that doesn’t work:
I love old things – always have. It’s more than the fact that they hold within them secrets that we may never know. I think their allure for me is their connection with the past. The older the better – I have a desk in my office – a gift from my honeymoon – its age is indeterminate. To be honest it’s proportions are such that I don’t really use it very much apart from holding copy and printing supplies and of course a kettle and mugs but I love it. Apart from the fact that it reminds me of a little antique shop we spent almost a full afternoon in, it fires my imagination with notions of who may have sat at it before me. What did they write? What did they dream of?
Secrets We Keep has at its centre an old Bath House, lying derelict for many years and in many ways it’s revival mirrors the recovery of one of the lead characters – Kate. But there is another old building in the story also.
Rock Castle overlooks the bath house – it mirrors and shadows it throughout the story. It too is brought back to life and its restoration mirrors Todd’s rehabilitation. Todd is not a leading character, perhaps for the reader, his is the lessor of three stories, but he’s integral all the same. His appearance, while upsetting turns out to be cathartic not just for Rock Castle – but for Kate also. Without confronting and closing off the past, it would be impossible for her to really move forward. Todd is a wreck when he decides he’s leaving the outwardly successful life he’s lived before. He needs to heal and even if he arrives in Ballytokeep by accident more than by design, Rock Castle is enough to make him realise it could be home.
Rock Castle is a typical ruin standing on the furthest edge of Ballytokeep. In Ireland, it seems like we have castles galore. Here, in the west, there are crumbling examples in fields, on cliffs and even in suburban centres. I wanted Rock Castle to be special. It is one of those old imposing structures that is history, past, present and rock star all rolled into one. The best example I could find was the beautiful Ballyhannon Castle in County Clare. I pinned a photo of it on to the wall as I went through the second edits of Secrets We Keep and honestly, I can say I fell in love with it – I hope the reader does too!