Yo nerds! Today we have a guest post from the delightful the Amber Elby. Amber wrote Cauldron’s Bubble which you can read my review of by clicking on this text right here. Cauldron’s Bubble is the first book in the Netherfeld Trilogy, and the sequel, Double Double Toil, is available now! Cool beans! I am part way through reading Double Double Toil, so expect a full review once I have finished it.
Six months after the events of Cauldron’s Bubble, Alda is stranded in her remote cottage, unable to recreate the magical object that allows her to travel between time and place. Meanwhile, Dreng’s home with Miranda on a distant island begins to crumble. They both escape to Fairy Land, where they become embroiled in a battle of immortals as the clans of Queen Titania and King Oberon fight for supremacy. In order to evade capture and return to their worlds, Dreng must rely on his adversary, Caliban, while Alda discovers an ally in the mysterious Ophelia. In a realm where only humans can die, will Alda and Dreng save themselves and, more importantly, each other? Or will they succumb to the fantastical powers in play?
Double Double Toil continues to build on the world introduced in Cauldron’s Bubble by intertwining Shakespeare’s plays in a unique and exciting way, introducing their stories to new readers and established Bard fans alike. Elements and characters from Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet combine in this fast-paced tale of magic and adventure.
The Amber is going to take us on a little journey through some of the real life locations that inspired some of the settings in both Cauldron’s Bubble and Double Double Toil. Without further ado, let me hand over the reigns to the Amber. Please don’t crash the melon, the Amber. It is a fragile machine.
Hey ho! Let’s go!
What is real? In fiction, there can be a thin line between an author’s own experiences and those of their characters. In fantasy, it’s sometimes difficult for an author to relate to events and experiences, so I often look to locations from my life to become settings in my novels.
The initial setting in Cauldron’s Bubble is my hometown of Grand Ledge, Michigan. But this is not the town where I was raised. The action of my novel is set in 1896/1897, when Grand Ledge was a tourist destination that boasted several hotels, a rollercoaster, an indoor skating arena, a zoo, and even spiritualist camp, as well as its then-famous ledges. After a series of devastating floods and economic downturns, none of that remains apart from the tourists’ graffiti and geometric images carved into the ledge faces. I had to turn to my family’s collection of antique stereopticon images and postcards to see the city as it once was and recreate it in my novel.
Even though I was born in Michigan, I spent a significant part of my childhood in the United Kingdom, so I drew from locations there as well. My favorite region is Yorkshire with its desolate trails and rocky moors. The hills around Haworth, those explored by the Brontës, became part of Prospero’s island.
Amber and her daughters on the Haworth Moors.
Farther northwest, the remote Roman road Hardknott Pass inspired the moor where Alda meets the witches, and its accompanying fort became Prospero’s palazzo.
Amber on Hardknott Pass.
Near Penrith, the Long Meg and Her Daughters stone circle became the witches’ foggy dome and the monolith on the book’s back cover.
Amber’s daughters, dressed as Meridia from Brave, with Long Meg and Her Daughters.
In Double Double Toil, England provides the inspiration for the Duke’s Tree with the Major Oak, the fabled tree in Sherwood Forest.
Amber, and her daughters, with The Major Oak.
The American Southwest is the basis for the enchanted cave in the first chapters: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which is an interconnected series of colossal caverns that take approximately three hours to cross on foot.
Amber and her daughters at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
New Mexico also inspired the Canyon in Cauldron’s Bubble, as well as some of the recurring petroglyph images. When my family visited Chaco Culture National Historical Park, we camped next to cliff dwellings and cooked on a fire beneath circling ravens that cawed in response to my daughters’ yells. The experience was, in a word, fantastical.
So I may not live in a world with witches and mermaids and time travel, but the real world is still magical.
This guest post is part of the blog tour for Double Double Toil. Be sure to go and check out the posts from the other sweet pips who are taking part!
Each day the bloggers on the tour will have a new page for you to read. I am day 4, and therefore I give you, page 4!
About the Author
Amber Elby was born in Grand Ledge, Michigan but spent much of her childhood in the United Kingdom. She began writing when she was three years old and created miniature books by asking her family how to spell every, single, word. Several years later, she saw her first Shakespearean comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, in London. Many years later, she studied Creative Writing at Michigan State University’s Honors College before earning her Master of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting at the University of Texas at Austin. She currently resides in Texas with her husband and two daughters and spends her time teaching, traveling, and getting lost in imaginary worlds.
There is a book launch event taking place for Double Double Toil in Austin, Texas at Malvern Books on October 14 at 2:00 p.m. And the Amber will be speaking on panels and signing books and all that jazz at the Mid-Cities Teen Book Festival at North Richland Hills Library in Texas on October 20 from 11:00 to 5:00. If you are in the area, be sure to check out both these events. I’ve heard there will be snow cones. And we know those Texans love their snow cones!
My thanks to the Amber for having me on her blog tour, and for providing her stories and photos above. I live not too far from Long Meg and Her Daughters, and I intend to pay them a visit very soon! Be sure to keep an eye out for my review of Double Double Toil, coming soon.
Anyway, I’m off to search the caves near me for petroglyphs. Until next time, Peace and Love!