Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Guest Blog and Giveaway with Iain McChesney

Well, hi, it’s good to be here, and thank you for having me on your blog today.

I’m not giving too much away, for anyone who hasn’t read the book, to let it out that The Curse of Malenfer Manor has a ghost or two in it – there is a supernatural element to the novel that is intrinsic to the story. And it is ghosts I want to talk about.

The book is set at the end of World War I in France, and concerns a mystery, one of many, involving the Malenfers, a locally powerful family. The book has got a big house out in the country and a lot of weird stuff going on. There is money at stake and people are dying and soldiers are coming home from the war. The thing is, with a bit of plot manipulation, it would have been possible to write The Curse as a historical murder mystery without getting involved with ghosts. Yet the story, I believe, is much richer for it, and helps define it as gothic.

The ghosts in Malenfer come from a couple of personal experiences I have had. Both took place in Scotland, and both took place at night. The first was at Carbisdale Castle, a grand house out in the countryside (see a resemblance, anyone?), which the public can visit and stay in since it is, or was, run as a hostel, though it is temporarily closed for repairs. Carbisdale is full of suits of armor and old portraits whose eyes may or may not move, you are never quite sure. The thing is, one of the rooms is haunted. The ghost in question is a young girl, or so I believe. They tell you all this when you check in, just in case you missed the news. And you laugh. Everyone laughs. Ha, ha, very funny. No one cares. It is a very good joke.

And then night falls and everyone goes to bed and the lights go out and there are no bathroom facilities in the rooms so you have to go wandering about in the halls guided by your cell phone light that is almost out of power. And the ghost is not a joke anymore. It is then, right then, with the squeaking stairs and the fluttering candles, that your imagination kicks in a gear. Carbisdale is a lovely place, but you don’t get much of a sleep. By dawn you feel a year older.

Carbisdale Castle, Scotland
 The copyright on this image is owned by Richard Webb and is licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

My second experience involved a remote old house, a bothy as they are called in Scotland. These are often abandoned crofts – tiny farms, the occupants driven off the land hundreds of years ago, some of whom then emigrated to Canada or the United States to start a better life for themselves. Hikers use these houses now; they are far better than tents, and they are free and dry, maintained by charity. Hiking: that is what I was doing in this particular one near the mountain called Ben More. You could go there yourself tomorrow.

What I didn’t know till I arrived was that the family who had lived there, two hundred years ago, had not been sent away. They had been slaughtered along with their animals – put to death by sword. And the house, the house I was intending to sleep in, was put to the torch and burned. But the house was sturdy, made of stone, and aside from the new roof it was the same four walls inside which the crime took place, and I was going to sleep on the floor.

You have got to understand that I am not insane. At this point it is a ten-mile walk to the nearest road, and it was nearly dark and the weather was terrible. I was hiking; I was on foot. The log book inside the front door warned visitors that the house was haunted. Have you seen this plot in a hundred horror movies? I think you are getting the picture. I don’t care if you are a believer or not, if you are religious or not. All the scientific rationale in the world goes up the chimney when the lightning starts and the thunder rolls, the trees crack and the windows rattle. At that point I was two hundred years back and imagining the torment of those occupants. Ghosts have that power, they can transport you through time, and I hope those in my book do that for you.

The Curse of Malenfer Manor
Book One
Iain McChesney

Genre: historical mystery / paranormal

Publisher: Wayzgoose Press

Date of Publication:  October 1

ISBN: 978-1-938757-10-5

Number of pages:
Word Count: 85,000

Cover Artist: DJ Rogers


Book Description:

Those in line to the Malenfer estate are succumbing to terrible ends –is a supernatural legacy at work, or something entirely more human?

Young Irish mercenary Dermot Ward retreats to Paris at the close of World War I where he drinks to forget his experiences, especially the death of his comrade, Arthur Malenfer. But Arthur has not forgotten Dermot. Dead but not departed, Arthur has unfinished business and needs the help of the living.

Upon his arrival at Malenfer Manor, Dermot finds himself embroiled in a mystery of murder, succession, and ambition. Dermot falls in love with the youngest Malenfer, the beautiful fey Simonne, but in his way are Simonne’s mismatched fiancé, her own connections to the spirit world, Dermot’s guilt over the circumstances of Arthur’s death… and the curse.

About the Author:

Iain is a writer of gothic mysteries.

He was born and raised in Scotland. He studied History and Geography at the University of Glasgow.

The World Wars left Iain’s family with generations of widows. As a result, Iain has always been interested in the tangible effects of history on family dynamics and in the power of narrative to awaken those long dead. For the characters in The Curse of Malenfer Manor, he drew on childhood reminiscences and verbal family history—though he hastens to add that his family had barely a penny, far less a manor, and any ghosts dwell only in memory.

He lives in Vancouver, Canada, with his wife and two children.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 21 Guest blog
So Much to Write

October 21Spotlight and review

October 22 Spotlight
Pick Your poison book reviews

October 23 Interview
BookwormBridgette's World

October 24 Guest blog
Mythical Books

October 25 Spotlight
Share My Destiny

October 28 Interview
Reading in Twilight

October 29 Interview
Pembroke Sinclair

October 30 Spotlight
Adrienne Woods Books and reviews

October 31 Interview
Marsha A Moore’s blog

November 1 Interview
Fang-tastic Books

November 4 Spotlight and review
Wicca Witch 4 Book Blog

November 5 Guest blog
Roxanne’s Realm

November 6 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

November 7 Spotlight
Fae Books 

November 8 Interview and review
Hooked In a Book

November11 Guest blog
Bia's Wonderland

November 11 Spotlight
Ramblings of a Book Lunatic

November 12 Spotlight and review
The Insane Ramblings of a Crazed Writer

November 13 Review
A_TiffyFit's Reading Corner

November 14 Interview
Dalene’s Book Reviews

November 14 review
The Writerly Exploits of Mara Valderran

November 15 Spotlight and review
Book Worm & More

November 15 Spotlight
Lis Les Livres

November 18 Interview
Cabin Goddess 

November 18 interview
The Writerly Exploits of Mara Valderran


Anonymous said...

Love reading these real world background tales. The man can sure tell a story!