Here’s a look behind the scenes of An Inquiry Into Love and Death. No spoilers, I promise!
Is Rothewell a real place?
Only if you live in my imagination. Rothewell was inspired by two different English towns: Clovelly, in Devon, which is built on a steep cliffside and makes no claims to being haunted whatsoever; and Pluckley, sometimes referred to as “the most haunted village in England” (its ghosts number around a dozen.) I used both of these as a starting point and added my own landscape.
Were there really women at Oxford in 1924?
Yes, there were, at Somerville College for women. Oxford allowed women to be full students in 1920, making Jillian one of the first waves of girls who could actually earn a degree. The picture below shows two female students in their dorm in 1932 and is from the Somerville College archives.
What is a galvanoscope?
A galvanoscope is an instrument used to detect electronic currents. It’s the precursor of the EMF (electromagnetic field) detectors used by modern ghost hunters, though I have never seen any indication in my research that historical ghost hunters used them. (That’s my imagination again!) I came across the instrument by chance when reading the history of naval battles in the First World War; the book made a brief mention of the English Navy using them for submarine detection. In a flash of inspiration, I decided they could be used for Toby Leigh’s ghost hunting, too.
Why did you put both a cat and a dog in this book? Do you own dogs and cats?
I have owned both, though I am mostly a cat person. Poseidon is a tribute to all of the great, friendly dogs of the world. Sultana is a tribute to my favorite cat, Charlotte, who passed away while I was editing the book. She was the patient presence sitting at my feet for years while I wrote manuscript after manuscript, hoping to become a published author. I miss her still.
Both animals serve purposes in the story as well. Also, writing animals is harder than it looks, and I wanted to see if I could do it.
This book reminds me of one of those old-fashioned gothics.
It should! I love old-fashioned gothics and have been known to buy yellowed stacks of them! I also love the books of Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart, and Victoria Holt.
Will there be a sequel?
Not at this moment, but it’s possible a future book will contain a surprise!