Guest Post: Marcus Sedgwick On Horror In The Sun…+ WIN! A Signed Copy Of White Crow

Horror in the Sun

I’ve written a fair few books set in the dark and cold of snowy winters. It’s a simple, but effective metaphor to work against; the cold, the deep snow, and something’s out there, coming your way. With every book you write, there are such decisions to be made: when and where to set your story, and you have to ask yourself how and why you do what you do. And as much as I like the effects to be had from the snow and the cold, every once in a while I feel the need to do something differently.

When I came to White Crow, my intention was to see if I could write a Gothic novel, but one set in the modern world. I wanted to use all the tropes and conventions of the Gothic, but in a contemporary way, but perversely, I wanted to play a little with one of the most important ingredients in a Gothic novel, that of the setting, which should be appropriately mysterious and atmospheric.

I’d chosen the real village of Dunwich om the Suffolk coast as the basis for the setting of my book: Winterfold, a place that is literally falling into the sea, slowly. That seemed the perfect metaphor for the decay that should be present in a Gothic novel, but I decided that it would just be too obvious to then set in against the rains and mists of a dark wintertime. Instead, I wondered if a lovely, boiling, baking summertime could be made to be creepy in the same way, and that’s what I set out to do. I knew it could be done – I was thinking of novels likes Albert Camus’ The Outsider, or Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano as great examples of how searing heat can be made to be unsettling in just the way I needed, and I think extremes of weather of any kind can be fun to use in a story.

So the scorching summer of 2010 in Winterfold came alive. Whether I succeeded in making the sunshine creepy is not for me to judge, but I certainly enjoyed the challenge.


We Have Two Signed copies Of Marcus Sedgewick’s White Crow to giveaway. All you need to do to enter is fill in the form below with your name and email address. 

Contest closes July 31st 2011. Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email. Sorry..UK only this time.

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