I was at the Teloy-Mühle this afternoon for an event and took a couple of photos of the staircase up to the upper levels. For those who have read The Devil’s Missal, this is the setting for a dramatic scene.
I am honoured to have been interviewed twice now by Scott Butki, the Austin-based book reviewer and journalist. I really enjoy his interviews because it is so obvious that he has really taken the time to read your work, think about it and construct a set of questions which enable you to build up a narrative about your book. Connoisseurs of book reviews – it’s well worth seeking out his other interviews too.
An interview about The Devil’s Missal
An interview about Planet Germany
During the first world war and the economic crisis which followed there were cash shortages. Many German towns responded by issuing Notgeld, or emergency money. In order to popularise their Notgeld banknotes, many towns deployed ornate or funny designs. These included depictions of local legends and fairy tales – such as this example below of witches flying off for a gathering on the Brocken (tallest mountain in the Harz).
An exhibition of Notgeld, “Currency in Crisis,” starts next week at the British Museum in London, and runs until 29 March 2020.
Chapter Two of The Devil’s Missal is largely set in Bruges in West-Flanders, deliberately chosen because of its medieval architecture and also just the sheer breathtaking loveliness of the place. If you have never visited Bruges, it would be well worth adding it to your bucket list.
Autumn is the most beautiful season around Schloß Pesch as the woods which surround it turn golden and russet. If you haven’t taken yourself on a tour of all the breathtaking Meerbusch locations from The Devil’s Missal yet, the next few weeks would be the perfect time. These are older photos… the leaves have not turned yet.
One of the stories which inspired part of The Devil’s Missal, I found in an old book of Rhine legends. It tells of a young woman, Wilgefortis, who is pursued by a group of men, determined to catch and rape her. She comes to a place where there is a huge wayside cross. Wilgefortis stands under the cross and holds her arms outstretched. As the pursuers arrive the virgin Mary causes a beard to sprout on Wilgefortis’ face. The rapists run on past, thinking she is a statue of Christ crucified and she is spared.
Er…no. I do like to research the historical background to my writing thoroughly. These are the kind of source books I was using for The Devil’s Missal.
And of course the answer to the question about whether witches actually ate babies…. well, not raw, of course.
One of the questions readers frequently ask is where do I write. Physically that is. Which seat is my backside attached to? What can I see from if I look up from the screen?
The answer is usually wherever I happen to be at the time. But if the weather allows it, outdoors. Here are three images of some of my favourite writing locations. The first is at Schloß Pesch in Meerbusch Ossum. The other two are in Meerbusch Büderich.
Part of the manuscript in The Devil’s Missal deals with astrological alignments. I thought I’d share this chart of celestial bodies from Volney’s Ruins of Empires 1852 edition. To the left, signs of Heaven of Summer or of Ormuzd and the reign of good. To the right reversed (or adverse) signs, Heaven of Winter or of Ahrimanes and the reign of evil.