Showing posts from June, 2013

Handless Maidens

Just recently, I read Flame of Sevenwaters by my all-time favourite author, Juliet Marillier .  Juliet is the writer I look up to most in my own work.  She has been very helpful with Silver Hands , giving it a great review on the Top Hat Books site .  When Silver Hands came out, I sent her a copy and she sent me a lovely card, promising to read it.  So it was strange to think that we might both be reading each other's works at the same time, especially as both were about a girl without the use of her hands. This wasn't deliberate.  Although I am a big fan of Juliet, and Silver Hands is in some ways inspired by her writing, I didn't know she was also going to be writing about a handless maiden.  It's interesting to make some comparisons. (Warning: possibly spoilers).  Juliet's Maeve hasn't lost her hands completely, but has had them burned in a fire as a child, so they are scarred and immobile.  She faces some of the same challenges as Margaret - getting

Silver Hands - Hidden Japan Part II

Last time, I told you about my trip to Japan in 2011, and some of the sites which influenced Silver Hands.   Today, I will complete the tour and look at three more historic Japanese sites with Silver Hands connections. I'd like to start with Seison-kaku, a villa in Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa.  The garden itself is a splendid traditional garden, with tea-houses, pines, plum groves and cherry trees.  But the villa is particularly interesting because it was built for a woman: Shinryu-in, widow of Maeda Narinaga.  It is fascinating to look at the different rooms, which are named after the paintings on their skirting boards (tortoise room, butterfly room etc.), to stand in the grand reception room (pictured above) and imagine life as a Japanese noblewoman in days gone by. This is the future Taro pictures for Margaret. Last time, I spoke about Nijo Castle in Kyoto, which houses a magnificent set of mansion buildings.  For those of you familiar with Lian Hearn's Across the