Friday, July 19, 2013

Designing Monks-Lantern Guest blog and Giveaway with Matthew Head

Monks-Lantern is the fictional city in which most of the action in “The Chronicles of Darkness” takes place, and I’d like to take this chance to give you a bit of information about how I created it and also to give you a bit of a virtual tour of the city.

Quite early on in the process of writing I had to choose between using a real city in England as the setting for “Chronicles” or creating one of my own. I toyed with a few ideas – the cities of Canterbury, Winchester and Chichester were all in the running to play host to my saga. In the end I decided to create my own place though, as it would give me a lot more freedom with the story. If I needed a forest, I could have one. If I needed a castle, I could have one. Heck, if I needed a mousetrap factory I could have one (although the need for that particular building has yet to arrive.)

Of course, just because I wasn’t literally using an existing city for my book didn’t mean that I couldn’t take inspiration from one. I went to university in the beautiful cathedral city of Canterbury and I was inspired by its quaint cobbled streets, historic buildings and majestic cathedral. I decided to put something of that place into my own creation, and it’s fair to say that although Monks-Lantern is by no means a carbon copy of Canterbury it certainly shares a lot of similarities.

As cliché as it might sound, the name “Monks-Lantern” just came to me one day whilst I was thinking about what to call the city. It was one of those cases where you end up trying too hard to create a name and they all end up sounding rather contrived – then an idea just hits you and you know it’s right from the start. There is a meaning to the name too, don’t think it’s just empty words – although you won’t actually learn the meaning for a while yet (sorry!) Something for you to ponder on…….

The main feature of Monks-Lantern is the cathedral, and as you approach the city by road or train you’ll see the ancient building dominate the skyline before you. In “The Box of Infernos” it sits quietly in the background, but in later books it will move forwards and become a character all of its own. I’m teasing shamelessly, I know I am. I just can’t help it!

The river Els runs through Monks-Lantern, and if you follow the road out of the city centre and across the river you’ll soon find yourself walking past my protagonist Isaac’s road – Elsbridge Hill Road. It’s a typical kind of street that can be found all over the United Kingdom: a uniform row of Victorian terraced houses in red brick. Walk down about three-quarters the length of the road and you’ll find Isaac’s house, number twenty. I wouldn’t knock though – the chances are you’ll end up getting involved in some supernatural misadventure that you could probably do without.

Back down in the city you can occupy yourself in a variety of ways. Spend some cash in the Holy Grove shopping centre, take some photos in the historic market square or go for a stroll in Bridgewater Park. If you’ve got a bit more time why not walk the riverbank and find yourself in the Travelling Woods. I’d be careful in there though, local legend says that the trees move. Although that’s probably just superstitious nonsense isn’t it?
Whilst we’re on the topic of superstitious nonsense I would just advise that you avoid St Andrew’s cemetery after dark. It’s probably nothing, and I’m sure you’d be okay – but there are rumours about what lives in that place. Personally I wouldn’t risk it. Oh and if you see anybody at all heading towards you in a hooded robe you must, must turn back immediately and run in the opposite direction. Honestly, it’s for the best. It could just be a monk but if it isn’t then the consequences really don’t bear contemplating.

But anyway, enough doom and gloom. Do visit Monks-Lantern through the pages of “The Chronicles of Darkness: The Box of Infernos” as despite being a sometimes scary place it is also a very special, very beautiful place. True enough, a lot of evil can happen there. But as with all places a lot of good can occur too. 

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The Chronicles of Darkness: The Box of Infernos
The Chronicles of Darkness Book One
Matthew Head

Genre:  Supernatural Mystery

ISBN:  978-1-78299-263-9

Number of pages:  204
Word Count:  85,000

Cover Artist: Matthew Head

Teaser trailer:

Book Description:

In the south of England, in the city of Monks-Lantern, events are starting to unfold which have the potential to threaten all of creation. Isaac Jacobs is a young university student with a haunted past who has long been fighting the supernatural monsters of this world and now he fights them alongside his four friends; Gabbi Gurtpasha, Billie Stamford, Laura Henley and Ben Pokeley.

What starts off as a disturbing but relatively low key investigation soon explodes into something much larger, darker and more fearsome than any of them could have imagined. Just what is behind the slow but steady disappearance of people from the city? Who is the much feared Imperator? What is the worst thing you can hope to see beneath a door in an empty building? How do you define a good man from a bad one? And what terror lies within the Box of Infernos?

A plan which has been in motion for millenia is now coming to fruition and Isaac had better be ready as his life will never be the same again from now on.

Something is coming.
About the Author:

My name is Matthew Head and I'm a writer from Surrey. Well, I say from Surrey - I was born in Kent, moved to London for a bit and then moved out to Surrey to live with my partner Andrew. I was born in the eighties, raised in the nineties and then I was inspired in the noughties during my time at university where I studied Theology.

Theology is quite possibly the most fascinating subject in the world. Sounds boring I know, sounds like church and everyone knows that church is boring. But it's not like that at all. It's packed full of myths and monsters, gods and goddesses - mad, bad, sad ones alive in stories which rival many blockbuster movies in terms of how epic they are. It doesn't matter whether it's all real or not - it's the story that counts. Stories are beautiful because absolutely anything is possible within them. That's why I love writing because I love the idea of contributing to that and creating stories. Stories that will make you cry, make you laugh, make you scared. Because I think there is some magic in writing - that simple words have the power to make us feel and react so strongly to them.

When I'm not writing or doing my day job then I really enjoy going out and exploring new places. I love going somewhere I've never been before, especially if there's some history linked to the place. Old places are the best - the older the better. You just get this sense that so much has happened there, so many different people have come and gone and yet the place remains.

A few more random facts about me - my favourite pet is the humble goldfish, my favourite dinner is macaroni cheese, I love banana flavoured things but I strongly dislike bananas and the only real phobia I have is a phobia of frogs. Yeuch.

Twitter: @Chronofdarkness

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bn100 said...

Interesting cover

Kimberly Mayberry said...

Thank you for the great excerpt and interview. Also, thank you for the awesome giveaway!