GALLERY (COMING SOON…)
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All images & text © Copyright Ruth Saberton 2017
What do you do if you come face to face with a ghost?
Put it down to a bump on the head and work stress if you’re a respected academic like Cleo Carpenter. With Christmas approaching, professional rivalry afoot and a best friend determined to interfere in her love life the strain is clearly starting to get to her.
As Cleo starts to doubt her sanity, the safe world she takes for granted crumbles around her. Setting out to regain control and prove once and for all ghosts don’t exist, she embarks on a journey of self discovery and surprise, learning that love really does defy science, logic and maybe even death itself
Sometimes an idea for a book just pops into your head and won’t go away. The characters stick around, nagging and poking you until you finally give in and write their story. It’s the weirdest thing and it sounds absolutely bonkers, but as a writer you can literally hear them chattering away. This was certainly the case with the characters from “Dead Romantic”.
I was in the tube, on my way back from a meeting with Orion, my then publisher, when suddenly Cleo Carpenter popped into my head and demanded that I told her story. She was determined, bossy and very single minded and I knew there would be no getting away from her until I’d listened and done my job! Unfortunately for me, Cleo was an Egyptologist -
Living in Cornwall made researching Cleo’s job rather tricky. I visited the British Museum and the Ashmolean a couple of times and spent hours trawling the internet, reading up on the subject and making notes. I was also soon hooked on the History Channel too. Then my mother told me that my granny had always been fascinated by Ancient Egypt -
At around this time my friend’s husband was fitting a big lift to service the Egyptian Rooms the British Museum and he told me how the place terrified him and his team at night -
Although the characters were raring to go, I was still stumped by the Egyptology side of things. I could use my imagination, of course, but I owed it to my readers to get as many of the facts right as I possibly can. Belief can only be suspended so far. It was at this point that one of my colleagues at Bodmin College asked me whether I had ever visited the Ancient Egyptian Centre in a nearby village. I hadn’t but I phoned them straight away and booked a trip. Their place was a true gem, a fantastic 1930s style museum, filled with the couple’s huge private collection of artefacts. I was lucky enough to be granted an exclusive tour and when I drove away my mind was racing with new ideas. I could hardly wait to start writing. I now had first hand experience of what an Egyptologist really did and, even better, wonderful inspiration for the important character who founds the museum where Cleo works. I could also picture the Aamon statue and artefacts that play such a central part of the story.
In the novel Cleo goes to see a celebrity psychic at a local theatre. She’s hoping that this will be a way of proving once and for all that ghosts don’t exist but ends up with more proof to the contrary than she ever expects. As part of my research for this book I also booked tickets to see a celebrity medium in action. I won’t name who this was but I was horrified by the mistakes they made -
Sometimes books just write themselves and this has been one of those times. Cleo, Rafe and Alex were vivid presences as I wrote, as were the settings of the book. When I typed “The End” I felt truly bereft. “Dead Romantic” accompanied me through some very tough times in my own life and it felt odd to walk away from it.
“Dead Romantic” is really a story about love in all it’s guises. Love for a partner, a sibling, a child, a job; as well as the agonising pain of losing a loved one. The Egyptians had a strong belief in the afterlife but Cleo, although she has studied their ancient culture, has learned to close her mind and her heart to anything other than her work. She misses out on so much. Writing her journey helped me to think about my own beliefs and to work through losses in my own life. If my granny did have an Egyptian spirit guide I think he was probably reading over my shoulder!
I really hope that my readers enjoy Cleo, Alex and Rafe’s story as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I also hope that it does offer some degree of comfort. As Cleo learns, love never dies but lives on in our memories and in our hearts.
Please feel free to write to me and let me know your thoughts and feelings about this book or to share your supernatural experiences with me. I love to hear from you.
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