Set in the rolling Cornish Countryside sits an old Stone built 17th century Manor house. All though it’s had occupants before, many of them, none have stayed.
This is the question Julia finally discovers the answer to.
Why did I pick the Cornish country side for my first novel, not a rural Australian landscape?
After all, I live in the dusty, but beautiful landscape of the Australian bush in a small country town. The reason is simple to explain. My husband Kevin and I are old building nuts. We live in a Queenslander built in 1904, still standing on the majority of its original stumps. The house is the closest to original condition in the whole town.
Both of us love Time Team and other archaeological programs and my ancestors travelled out from Cornwall in 1865. Even though I have never been to Cornwall, it’s definitely on my bucket list to go.
Whenever we see an old manor or mansion in films, my thoughts often turn to the lives of those who may have lived in the houses so long ago and what if?
What if there was a secret passage? Many old manors had priest holes and hidden passageways for the servants to use.
Is there a hidden dungeon or basement? What may have happened down there?
Could someone’s insane Aunt Bessie been locked in the attic and never let out? Could she still be there, haunting the house?
As a child I was always reading. I read Erich Von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods when I was ten years old. My mind often wondered during school time, where I would disappear into my own thoughts and visit places never heard of or seen before. I wrote stories for myself and in later life, writing helped me through the darker and more depressing stages of life. I suppose I was always destined to be a writer, but it took a fellow Darksider, Imogene Nix, to make me do it. I became her beta reader and the rest is recent history.
Thank you for letting me have a spot on Magic Thursday, and don’t forget there is a giveaway of an ebook of Spirit of Love. (Gift Certificate from Rogue Phoenix Press)
Good luck to the winner and I hope you enjoy it.
Spirit of Love can be downloaded from
Amazon US - http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Love-J-L-Addicoat-ebook/dp/B00LKWMW26/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406948172&sr=8-1&keywords=Spirit+of+love
Amazon AU - http://www.amazon.com.au/Spirit-Love-J-L-Addicoat-ebook/dp/B00LKWMW26/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404795271&sr=8-1&keywords=jl+addicoat
Barnes and Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spirit-of-love-j-l-addicoat/1119917431?ean=2940149732135
Rogue Phoenix Press - http://shop.roguephoenixpress.ieasysite.com/productinfo_v3.aspx?productid=SPIRITOFLOVE
Turning the heavy iron key in the lock, an ominous creak sounded as Julia tried to open the huge, rusting gate. It moved reluctantly. Putting her shoulder to the rusted metal, she pushed hard. “Come on, you ton of junk. Open or you’ll end up in a scrap merchant’s yard.” A loud crack emanated from the protesting metal, and, as if it had heard her, swung open without a problem. She brushed herself down. “See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? All I ask is a bit of co-operation.”
A tangle of grass and weeds lay ahead. I have to drive through that? Julia ground her teeth. “I’m going to have to get a new gardener. This one obviously doesn’t know what a lawn mower or grass trimmer is.”
The grass moved in front of her. Startled, she jumped back. Something scurried away underneath the tangled mess. She followed its progress with her eyes, until it disappeared into the large, unkempt hedge near the gate.
A sense of foreboding settled in Julia’s stomach as she quickly returned to the car. She didn’t know what it was about the manor, but each time she visited, the hair stood up on the back of her neck. It felt as if something or someone was watching her.
Starting the car’s engine, she drove slowly down the weedy, rutted path, the car bouncing as its wheels sank into the potholes. Julia cringed at the jolts and scraping sounds coming from underneath the vehicle. “I should never have sold the Landcruiser. What was I thinking, bringing the Jag?” She knew what she had been thinking. She was the Mistress of the Manor now, and wanted to show off.
As she bumped along through the avenue of trees, the manor revealed itself. Grey stone blocks of the façade gave a haunting welcome. Julia swallowed a lump in her throat and tears pricked her eyes. It wasn’t right. Richard should have been here with her. He’d wanted to restore the old mansion for a while. This was his dream house.
Instead, it had become his burial place.
She’d promised, while she knelt at his graveside, to restore the old manor in his memory. That had been two years ago. The memories of the time still haunted her. Grief and loneliness had held her back. Mentally, she felt stronger now, and able to accept having to carry on alone. “Get a grip on yourself Julia. It’s an old house. It’s bound to have a few creaks and groans.”
Parking the Jag next to the front door, she unpacked, placing the bags in front of the massive wooden doors. The leering gargoyle face on the door knocker sent a shiver through her. Placing a hand over its face so she wouldn’t have to look at it, Julia turned the door key in the lock and pushed the door open.
She’d never been inside the manor. Richard had gone inside, but she had stayed outside in the gardens. Just the look of the grey stone on the outside gave her an eerie feeling. The same feeling assailed her now. She glanced back behind her. The hair on the back of her neck stood up. Something or someone was watching her. She was sure of it.
“Get inside and shut the door. Then they won’t be able to see you.” Quickly picking up her bags, she kicked a small bag forward with her foot, in an effort to get everything inside and shut the door. After closing it, she turned around and gasped. The entrance opened in front of her. Large marble tiles covered the floor, with the roof looming high above. A hand carved wooden staircase in front of her wound its way to the first floor.
Oh, Richard. If you could only see this as I am now. I can see you running up the stairs. Running your hands over the banisters. Pulling up the carpet to see the wood underneath. I can see the delight in your eyes.
She ran her fingers over a nearby wall. Tracing the raised wallpaper patterns with her fingertips brought a sense of loss, a heaviness to her heart. She could feel the loneliness of the building. To her, it felt neglected, like it hadn’t been loved for quite a while. Like her. Great, now you’re associating yourself with a building. A moldy, musty stench emanated from the old, red, patterned carpet on the stairs, and she wrinkled her nose at the smell.
Once, people had walked up and down the rich, red carpeted stairs. She could imagine children sliding down its curved railing, laughing as they reached the curled end, then running back up the stairs again for another trip. She smiled at the visualization it brought to her mind.
Now, the only footsteps it felt were from the mice chewing holes in its carpet, showing the bare wooden boards underneath. Yes, this is a very sad house indeed. As she turned left into what appeared to be the library, she caught a shadowy movement from the corner of her eye. She spun and glanced around, but nothing was there.
“Hello, is anyone there?” Silence was her answer. Maybe a bird had flown in through a broken window somewhere? She shook her head, chiding herself for being silly and so jumpy. She laughed to herself. I’ll be seeing ghosts next. A cold shiver ran through her at the thought.