Cronwall, Crossroads, and Castles… An Author Interview by Ripley Proserpina

This week, I am featuring the paranormal romance author, RM Walker. RM’s series, The Seeris about a young woman who learns about magic after moving with her artist mother to a new home. RM’s book also has a reverse harem twist, with four love interests, and is one of my favorites I’ve read so far. RM agreed to answer my very specific questions— satisfying my love of history, spooky stories, and England!! Enjoy!

You live in England-will you share the creepiest bit of history near where you live?

Oh gosh, there are loads to be honest. The market town I live in has a lot of old buildings that are haunted. There are remnants from the Benedictine Abbey that was first built in 961 AD, making it one of the oldest Abbey’s . There are plenty of tales of ghostly monks, murdered servants, and headless coachmen who ride through here.

But I think for me there are two favourites.

Kity Jay’s grave.

Ann Jay was a 18th century farmworker. The farmer’s son had his wicked way with her and then disowned her when she fell pregnant. In those days, suicides could not be buried on consecrated land and were, instead, buried at crossroads. The belief was that by burying them at crossroads the spirits would be too confused to find their way back to haunt the living. So, poor Kity was buried at crossroads on Dartmoor.

It’s a sad story, but the twist in it is that every day from when she was buried, right up to today, a fresh bunch of flowers are found on her grave every morning. No one knows who puts them there, but locals will tell you that sometimes, late at night, a hooded figure can be seen kneeling by the grave.

I’ve seen the flowers, but never had the courage to go up at night. 😊 Is it a custom that’s been handed down through Kity’s family? Or does poor Kity come back each night to lay flowers for herself and unborn baby.

The Inn.

Years ago, before cars or trains, a couple were crossing Dartmoor in horse drawn carriage when a thick mist descended (as it often does on the Moors). The coachman was forced to stop at an Inn for the night. It was late when they arrived, and the Innkeeper and his wife were not too happy being woken during the witching hours. The only room available had two single beds. The Innkeeper’s wife showed them to the room and then left, but she didn’t leave them with a candle. They fumbled their way to the separate beds and lay down fully clothed. The young wife was impressionable and highly strung, and without candlelight it was too dark to make out anything in the room. She was terrified of every creak and groan from the old place and asked her husband to reach out and hold her hand until she could sleep.

He agreed, reached out and his wife took his hand. They both fell asleep holding hands and were not troubled until morning.

When they woke up they were surprised, and horrified, to discover that the distance between the beds was too far apart for them to be able to hold hands.

But both had held someone’s hand the previous night, of that they were certain. But whose hand were they holding?

There are hundreds of local myths and legends, but these are the two that stand out in my mind the most. 😊 So, who do you think leaves the flowers? Kity or locals? And who held the young couple’s hands in the Inn? 😊

Your book, Denial, has to do with your FMC, Lily coming to terms with her magical abilities. She’s a witch. In America, witch lore has to do with broomsticks and familiars. Give me a sense of what witchcraft has looked like in England.

To answer that question fully would require a thesis from me. 😊 Witches have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years here. They didn’t look like the modern-day image of green faced, broomstick flying, black robed ladies with warts. No witch has, but the history behind why they are viewed like this is an interesting and disturbing read, but not for now. 😊

Hedge witches were usually women who had learnt the uses of plants and herbs to cure or treat various ailments. They weren’t silly though, and they discovered that they could sell all sorts of spells and curses, even ones that didn’t work, because the healing potions did work. A love potion not working? The person didn’t really love, or they’d not had enough belief or faith. It was a medieval scam. 😊

I have friends who are witches, white witches, and each one has their own way of doing things. But the one thing that is common between them all is that they really do live by the words “And it harm none.”

Lily and Denial have a mix of mystery and paranormal elements. You live nearby Jamaica Inn- the setting for Daphne Demaurier’s classic mystery about a young woman who learns aunt and uncle are wreckers, people who run ships around, kill the sailors, and steal the cargo. How does setting influence what you write? Could you imagine your story taking place somewhere else? 

It did have a large influence. I have always been fascinated with history in general, and the history around the Westcountry is rich and diverse. We have King Arthur legends, the lost land of Lyonese, where on some days, when you cross the sea to the Isle of Scilly, you can still hear the hundreds of bells chiming beneath the waters. There are stories of smugglers, witches, pixies, ghosts, all sorts of lovely stuff for a rabid imagination. 😊

I don’t think Lily could have been set anywhere else. I did consider placing it in Glastonbury. But the call of the Cornish magic was too strong. 😊

I know winter and New England often factor into my books-it’s what I know and generally I can see my stories taking place there. Do you think living where you do has influenced your writing? How?

Definitely. Although I haven’t written exact locations (except Dozmary Pool and Jamaica Inn in Retribution), all the areas in my stories are an amalgamation of places I love and visit frequently. I’ve always had a wild imagination, and the history in this area has fed that. I love nothing more than scrambling around old places, reading up on local legends and then going off to find them (through the day). I love old buildings and I’m fortunate enough to live within an area that has a lot of National Trust properties, like Castle Drogo, Lanhydrock, Buckland Abbey, Cotehele (my favourite) and a few more. If you like my page on Facebook, you will see some of the pictures I take off these places and the interesting stories I find.

Finally- Halloween is coming. What would Lily and her guys be doing this Halloween?

The plan would be to take her away camping for the weekend at a campsite not far from Jamaica Inn. They know how much both Lily and Matt love history, and how much Lily wants to visit the Inn. They’d take her to the exhibition, then have a meal in the Inn. They’d want to stay with her in the Inn overnight, but they’d need several rooms and they don’t have the cash for it. That’s the plan. Whether something happens before they can get that far is still hanging in the air. Halloween is also the twin’s birthday and the point where the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest. 😊 😊

Links:

Links for Lily: https://www.books2read.com/u/47k7Pa

Links for Denial: https://www.books2read.com/Denial

Links for Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ruth.bailey.180

Links for Website: https://rmwalkersite.wordpress.com/

Excerpt from Lily, Book 1 of The Seer Series.

Copyright: R.M. Walker

She’d seen this waterwheel before. She’d been here before, of that she was certain, and it slammed into her like a hammer to her head.

“Shit, did you trip?” She was vaguely aware of Nate out of her peripheral vision, but her gaze was locked on the waterwheel ahead of her, slowly turning as water was channelled onto it via an aqueduct. Her vision narrowed to the turning of the wheel. Images slammed into her head, noises in her ears. She could hear a child screaming, two children screaming. One child being pulled towards the water that churned under the wheel, another valiantly trying to reach it before falling in himself. Both children struggled desperately but the pull was too strong for them and they were dragged beneath the ever-turning wheel.

She stumbled forwards frantically, she had to get to them before they drowned.

Something was holding her back, shouting in her ears as she stumbled and fell to the ground. She clawed her way forwards, desperately trying to get to them before it was too late, but something heavy was holding her down. Hands on her waist and legs refused to let her go.

“Lily! Lilith!”

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