'Scilly now and Then' - current magazine article....
By David England, Oct 13 2017 04:33PM
As well as some well laid out photos over a double-page spread, this is the text icluded in 'Scilly Now and Then's latest edition...
Colin Jordan recently returned to the islands for a book signing for his Scilly-based fantasy novel Stone In The Blood so we took the opportunity to chat with him about this very unique book.
“We originally launched the book at the culture festival here last May. It’s done really well. It’s kind of surprised us actually because it’s the first time we’ve done something like this. It’s been a slow process but word seems to be getting out and we’ve had very positive reviews in the Cornish newspapers. Probably as a result of that, we’ve had lending libraries in Cornwall and Devon ordering copies.
The book was very much a collaborative effort. I did the writing and Dave England did the illustrations but he also helped develop the plot and I helped dictate what the illustrations would be. We’ve been friends and collaborators for well over 30 years.
Before we started writing, we camped at the Garrison for a week and visited all the locations we wanted to include. We spent many evenings at the Bishop & Wolf resolving the outstanding plot holes over a pint or three.
We storyboarded the book like a film. We had a very visual approach, which is why the illustrations were so important. They don’t just illustrate key scenes in the book, they add an extra dimension. My dream come true would be if someone adapted it into a film.
We used a lot of real places in the book, such as Halangy, Giant’s Castle, tombs at Innisidgen, the Old Man if Gugh. We used our imagination as well. In the book, for instance, we describe some extensive tin mines under Guther’s and of course as far as we know, there’s nothing like that. But you never know! There’s a large flooded area in central Scilly and there could be anything hidden under there. They’re still finding things today.
It’s a bigger book in terms of dimensions than average but it had to be that way, firstly because there’s a lot of text and we didn’t want it to be too thick, but also the amount of detail Dave has put into his drawings. You can spend hours looking at the illustrations and still see something you missed before.
There hasn’t really been this kind of book set here before. While I was writing it I actually became quite frightened that someone else would have a similar idea and get it out first. I know Michael Morpurgo sets a lot of his children’s books on Scilly , and sometimes has a Scilly theme but it’s not quite like this.
Part of the book deals with how the dead were treated and how they were entombed here and without giving too much away, how some of them were resurrected for evil means later on. It has some really dark themes in it. I usually describe the market for the book as being older children and adults. It’s definitely not a little kids book in the way that the first Harry Potter books were, for example.”
The Scilly Connection
“I was first brought here as a child by my grandparents at the age of about 5 in 1971. I came back a few years later. Although I was young at the time I still have very strong childhood memories. It was a very magical experience for me. Part of it stayed with me throughout my growing years.
I didn’t come to Scilly again after visiting as a child until I was an adult in the 1990s but always knew I would come back. I was delighted when I did return to see just how much I remembered and how little it had changed. Scilly is very much an unspoiled place and it spoke to me for lots of reasons. The islands’ archaeological heritage in particular; you have a very rich history here, extensive, well-preserved archaeological sites that you just wouldn’t get in such a concentration elsewhere in the world. I found those very inspiring.
I try to make a point of visiting at least once a year. My grandparents’ ashes are buried here so I like to come and pay my respects. And having written a book and selling it here I can’t really not come over and promote it in some way, so I do the odd book signing.”
“I’ve begun a sequel which I’m hoping to launch in Scilly next year. I’m collaborating with David again so I imagine it will be done in a similar way to the first book. Because we’ve gone back so far in time, it gives us an enormous flexibility, we were able to describe the land, its people and culture. We had a lot of fun devising all that and we still feel there’s great scope to tell more tales set in that world for the second book.
The second book is a prequel, a sequel and also an alternative perspective on the events in the first book. We’ve come up with some very interesting ideas which I think our readers will really enjoy.”