Today I’m delighted to welcome author Virginia King to my blog as part of the Quirky Guest Post Marathon. Virginia has written a brilliant guest post about exorcising the furniture, I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did.
Exorcising the Furniture by Virginia King
A fiction writer can sometimes be pulled into strange territory. A character can say something unexpected or an event can turn up, making the dialogue or the book career off in a new direction. These serendipitous detours can generate bursts of research and create new layers in the story.
The Face in the Mirror
In the first chapter of my psychological mystery The First Lie, the main character Selkie Moon encounters the face of a strange woman in her bathroom mirror. She’s just moved to Hawaii, a place full of paranormal happenings. Seriously spooked, Selkie googles the sighting, after the strange event had sent me there ahead of her. She found accounts of other people’s encounters with the spirit world:
Someone describes levitating off her bed and almost being sucked into a mirror. She was just able to resist, and afterwards a team of ghost-busters rid her apartment of evil spirits hiding in the sculptures and statues.
Research like this is a gift to the mystery writer who enjoys a foray into the psychic and the surreal. Was the face in the mirror trying to lure Selkie … to the other side? Or was it some kind of vision? But Selkie’s a stranger in town so what’s it got to do with her?
Selkie shares a flat with art student Wanda, and this snippet about sculptures and statues inspired me to fill the place with quirky ornaments. Selkie says …
My eyes scan the walls and dozens of eyes stare back. Wanda’s artworks, fashioned from dead fish. In garish colours with painted lips … A naked shop dummy sits on a chair at the end of Wanda’s bed, her plastic legs akimbo. Doris. For the first few weeks I kept jumping out of my skin every time I caught sight of her …
The room is a tribute to Wanda’s eye for other people’s trash, and my few belongings barely make an impression on the menagerie. A large Buddha head with four faces forever contemplating his split personality. Two fairies shadow-dancing on an art-deco tray. A parrot made from nuts and bolts poised on his own perch.
Soon Selkie is running for her life. After one shocking incident, she and I both remembered the woman with the statues. As Selkie wonders if one of Wanda’s ornaments might be harbouring something, deeper layers appeared in the mystery.
Back to the Bathroom Mirror
After an hour on Google I’m on a feng shui site: Don’t put a mirror opposite the bed in case you get trapped in the in-between state between sleeping and waking.
This little gem gave me further permission to play with the mystical properties of mirrors. Hawaiian folklore has lots of stories: faces appearing in grandma’s mirror, causing doors to slam and cups to rattle; the ritual of turning the mirror to the wall before going to bed …
After Selkie sees the face, Wanda tells her the mirror belonged to her grandmother, Tutu:
“Tutu was a kahuna,” Wanda says. “That’s where I get my Hawaiian blood, from her. She saw things. In her mind. And in the mirror.”
“You know. The future. Predictions. Visions.” She stops. “Now you’ve seen one.”
“I saw a face, that’s all. A face that . . . stared at me.” But the hairs on my neck are standing up.
There’s talk about what to do with the mirror:
“What do you want me to do,” Wanda asks, “call in an exorcist?”
“Hell, no. Just move the bloody thing.” Into a dumpster on the other side of the island.
“You can move it. Turn the mirror to the wall and it loses its power.”
“No way,” I say. “And I’m stuck outside in my bathrobe. How am I going to get to work?”
Jewellery with Attitude
Google tells me that in Victorian times precious stones were thought to have ‘magical’ properties: for example rubies symbolised passion and seed pearls depicted tears. But Selkie is living in modern Hawaii, where I was once given a necklace made from … a cowry shell.
Hermit crabs live in empty shells, and a shell held to the ear whispers about the sea. A Google search discovers lots of mystical powers attributed to cowry shells around the world. How might a cowry contribute to Selkie’s journey? It’s another opportunity to ‘exorcise the furniture’.
A Free Ghost Story
Get a taste for the Selkie Moon mystery series with Laying Ghosts, a modern 24-page haunted house story inspired by a Russian folktale and tangled up in a murder ballad dating back to the 1700s. It’s a standalone story but also a prequel to the series and explains the chilling reason for Selkie Moon leaving Sydney to start a new life in Hawaii. Download your free copy http://www.selkiemoon.com/#popup
The First Lie by Virginia King
Someone is trying to kill you.
When Selkie Moon flees Sydney to start over in Hawaii, it’s to live life on her own terms. But Life has other plans.
Though she tries to dismiss the warning as just another nightmare, it soon becomes apparent that someone, or something, is stalking her. Attacked by frightening visions and mysterious compulsions, she must piece together the fragmented clues before time runs out.
Virginia King effortlessly blends funky creativity and deep spirituality – with a dash of Celtic folklore – to craft a story of one woman’s fight for truth, and her discovery that the lies we tell ourselves are the most dangerous of all.
Special Sale Price: The First Lie for .99 GBP!
For a very short time you can buy The First Lie – winner of a BRAG Medallion – for the special discounted price of .99 GBP:
Other retail sites: http://www.selkiemoon.com/buy-the-books/
Giveaway of The First Lie
You could be one of ten lucky winners who will choose either a signed paperback or an audio book of The First Lie plus a $15 Amazon gift code. One grand prize winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift code.
Enter here: http://www.selkiemoon.com/win-a-signed-copy/
About the Author
When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came to create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.
Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.
You can follow the rest of the Quirky Guest Post Blog Tour at the following blogs…