For anyone interested in knowing more about my novel The Crystal Heart (named as a CBCA Notable Book this year) I have a guest post on creating the world of the book, on Goldie Alexander’s blog. Following is a short extract. You can read the full thing here.
The Crystal Heart is set in the military state of Krainos, a small country which is on a constant war footing due to its enmity with the underground, magical realm of Night. But it’s also partly set in Night itself, an amazing realm which is much more advanced than Krainos. Some of the elements of the kingdom of Night owe their inspiration to two things: first, a magical, extraordinary place in the real world, the Wieliczka Salt Mines near Krakow in Poland, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wieliczka_Salt_Mine , which I visited in 2012.
As soon as I set foot in this amazing underground world, with its huge caves, shining salt walls, fantastical statues carved out of grey and white rock salt, and its fairytale cathedral entirely carved out of salt, with glittering chandeliers made of salt crystals, I knew I had to use it in a book! By the time I had emerged from our extraordinary journey underground, the characters of Izolda and Kasper were already whispering in my ear…
The other inspiration for the underground setting was one of my favourite childhood books, George MacDonald’s classic fantasy novel for children, The Princess and the Goblin. I disliked the goblins but was fascinated by their underground kingdom! And when I saw the Wieliczka Salt Mines, those nasty goblins from George MacDonald’s book morphed into even nastier ones in my world!