Today I am sharing Marjorie Mallon’s new book – Curse of Time 1 The Bloodstone.
On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.
Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.
Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the elusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.
With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?
A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.
Marjorie tells us about her character Esme, who self-harms. As someone who has done this since I was a teenager, I am proud of Marjorie for championing this dreadful part of mental illness and for bringing it to the attention of others. Thank you, Marjorie.
Thank you so much, Adele, for inviting me to guest post on your blog today.
I’d like to focus on one particular character in my YA novel The Curse of Time–Book 1–Bloodstone, Esme, the mirror girl.
To begin with, Esme troubled me; she was such a sketchy character. I knew she was stuck in a mirror in a time she didn’t belong in but apart from that, I couldn’t get a sense of who she really was. In time she developed, I believe the dialogue I created between her and the main protagonist Amelina shaped her character. It was as if she needed to speak for me to hear her voice and to understand who she truly was.
Mirrors fascinate me as do reflections. When we look in a mirror, we see different versions of ourselves. What we perceive can vary depending on so many factors. Lighting can influence how we look. If we’re tired, we might see shadows under our eyes. If we’re dressed to impress with immaculate makeup and perfect hair, we smile as we acknowledge the best version of ourselves. With these thoughts in mind, Esme’s character evolved. She became a split personality, a girl with variable emotions, and a manic depressive with a tendency to self-harm.
At the time I didn’t know anyone personally who self-harmed, but I’d heard second-hand accounts. I was shocked to discover how many young people self-harm. This growing problem is considered to be more common amongst girls. https://www.selfharm.co.uk/get/facts/self-harm_statistics. I wondered if self-harm could be triggered by a need to be a perfect version of oneself, a girl with no outward flaws, who tried so hard to excel at everything.
So Perfect Esme was born. A beautiful, intelligent, girl who didn’t want for anything, who believed everyone envied and hated her because she had more than her fair share of brains, looks, and athletic prowess.
No one appreciates someone who can do it all. But everyone has at least one flaw. In Esme’s case, this imperfection is hidden. Her one failing is her emotional and mental vulnerability. But, people can’t see that because they are all so focused on what they see on the surface rather than what lies within her heart.
When Esme self-harms this action releases her pain, albeit temporarily, and whilst she continues to be a prisoner she can’t escape the walls that enclose her.
Without a doubt writing about a character with mental health issues isn’t easy. One has to consider many things. There is a duty to be as realistic as possible. How could I hope to achieve this within the framework of a fantasy novel? I had to research, consider, reflect and try to tap into the mind of my character. A difficult goal and I hope I created an authentic character that youngsters might identify with.
To represent most of my characters I’m intending to use photographic portraits but Esme is an exception. I have asked artist Carolina Russo to create a portrait of Esme for me which I will share on social media.
I’d like to say how important it is to encourage openness, discussion and tolerance regarding mental health issues. If I can do this in some small way by creating characters such as Esme then that can only be a good outcome.
© Marjorie Mallon 2017
Get to know Marjorie:
I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, middle-grade fiction and micro poetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/
My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheroes! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac, sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much-loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh, I mastered Scottish country dancing and a whole new Och Aye lingo.
As a teenager, I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six-foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters. After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.
My blog – for information about new releases, photos of main characters/character interviews, book reviews and inspiration: https://mjmallon.com
My New Facebook Group #ABRSC: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook:
Facebook: Facebook: m j mallon author
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I have devoted the past few years to writing over 100 reviews on My Goodreads Review Account, and on my blog to help support traditional and indie writers.
Thank you so much, Marjorie, for being my blog guest today.
I want to take this opportunity to promote Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook: It is a wonderful group of people from all areas of writing who post fantastic articles and help each other. Truly a fantastic group. Thanks again, Marjorie.