Catherine Bloor – Soul Of A Raven “The Best Entertainment Magazine in the UK“, author Catherine Bloor talks about the inspiration behind her new historical fantasy book, Soul Of A Raven.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Catherine Bloor about her life and career, what inspired her to start writing and the inspiration for her next book, Soul Of A Raven
Tell Me Who You Are:
I’m “Catherine Bloor” Work At The University Of Aberdeen Library and browse millions of books old books in storage. Some of my favorite things to do are walk long distances, play the clarinet in the local band, listen to audio books, collect sea glass, and take too many random photos with my phone of beautiful things in the countryside while walking the dogs .
When did you first want to write a book?
When I was a child. I wrote a “book” for the first time when I was ten. It was about twelve pages and included pictures! I was VERY proud! But then I didn’t write another story until I wrote Soul of a Raven, although writing a book was something I dreamed of. There were many reasons not to write, but I think first of all, high school was a mess for the imagination (!), and earning and making a living got in the way. I’ve never made writing a priority.
When did you decide to start writing?
My youngest graduated from college in 2019 and the nursery seemed empty so it was the perfect time to start writing. Then Covid happened which gave me more time to write. I didn’t quit even though the first few things I wrote were ridiculously awful.
What prompted you to write Soul Of A Ravenby Catherine Bloor?
The idea for this book came from researching my family tree on the Ancestry website. I found women on a Victorian census. Mary was my grandmother of five and worked as a tutor at Petworth House of Correction.His daughter Eliza had thirteen children, including Catherine (whom I named Wren). They were all very ordinary and humble women, but I wanted to know more about them, which of course was frustrating and impossible.
So I came up with a story for Wren based on found facts and some local history. As I was writing this, I couldn’t resist the urge to add a little magic to the story because there is so much in history and folklore that lends itself perfectly to Magic. The myths and mysteries surrounding the London Stone are a good example of this!
I still haven’t managed to get to central London to see the real London Stone in its Cannon Street window, despite writing a book about it! But my eldest son reliably informs me that it exists – he sent me pictures every time he passed!
What were your biggest challenges writing Soul Of A Raven?
The biggest challenge was having the courage to think that writing an entire novel was somehow doable or a good idea! In the beginning writing was a challenge for me every day and I had to be strict with myself and stick to some kind of schedule or the days would go by with nothing. I found I wanted to keep it a secret from most people because I felt a little embarrassed doing it.
Who or what inspired you to create The Protagonist?
Wren is my fictional ancestor. The structure of her life is loosely rooted in Victorian reality; was born in Petworth, moved to Chi Chester, then some, probably poverty, brought her to London. I gave him magic, destiny, and a restless, powerful enemy.
Who or what inspired you to create The Antagonist?
Corvus, as I wrote, evolved from the idea of darkness, brutal historical times, what happens to the soul when it cannot find peace, notions of longing and rejection, immortality, ravens, crows, magpies and their connection with the Darkness, gothic and macabre.
What is the arson incident in Soul Of A Raven?
There are perhaps two provocative episodes. First, when Corvus is reborn from two murdered souls, and second, when Wren’s fate is forged through the magical creation of a moon-colored bunny pendant from London Stone.
What is the main conflict of Raven Soul?
Wren must somehow fulfill her destiny to save the London Stone and the city itself while Corvus does everything in his power to stop him.
Did you get help assembling and how much does Soul Of A Raven need to assemble?
I was very happy when I “finished” this book, but I knew it wasn’t good at all and I didn’t know how to fix it. I got a development version (structure, characters, pacing, plot issues, etc.) from a professional editor who kindly told me which parts were awful and confusing, which really inspired me to “get better”.
So I took it apart, rewrote a lot of it, changed the ending and made a lot more Corvus. The book has also been edited several times since then to fix grammar issues etc.
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Soul of a Raven is available from 24th January online from Amazon, Waterstones and other major booksellers, and from publishers Calthorpe Millner.