The Plague Stones by James James Brogden – Guest Post from the Author

Hi everyone, so I have a very exciting post for you all. I am lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for The Plague Stones which is an amazing book. What makes this post exciting is that I have a guest post from James Brogden himself.

Title: The Plague Stones

Author: James Brogden

Publisher: Titan Books

Published: 14th May 2019

Pages: 496

Summary from Goodreads :

Fleeing from a traumatic break-in, Londoners Paul and Tricia Feenan sell up to escape to the isolated Holiwell village where Tricia has inherited a property. Scattered throughout the settlement are centuries-old stones used during the Great Plague as boundary markers. No plague-sufferer was permitted to pass them and enter the village. The plague diminished, and the village survived unscathed, but since then each year the village trustees have insisted on an ancient ceremony to renew the village boundaries, until a misguided act by the Feenans’ son then reminds the village that there is a reason traditions have been rigidly stuck to, and that all acts of betrayal, even those committed centuries ago, have consequences…

Guest Post by James Brogden

All about Hester

There Were No Elves At Helm’s Deep

Just to be clear:

Hester Attlowe isn’t a witch, and this is not a tale about witches. Nor is she is a zombie, even though she’s dead. Nor is she a ghost, because some of the things she does are very, shall we say, visceral.

So what exactly is she?

There comes a point in the editing process where I have to sit down and thrash it out. I have a very clear idea of her motives, but what is the extent of her power, where does it come from and what is its achilles heel? I tend to put this kind of thing off for as long as possible because what excites me is the mystery of the supernatural, and when I have to start saying

‘Well, she can do this but she can’t do that because of reasons, except under these conditions’, it all starts to feel a bit like the kind of rules-heavy roleplaying games that I used to play for hours on as a teenager (and yes, okay, most of my twenties, dammit), before I realised that they didn’t make for very interesting stories.

I tend to start from the point of having Character do a Cool Thing, where ‘cool’ usually means wibbly wobbly magicky wagicky stuff, or extreme violence, sometimes both, and hand-waving the explanations. Then very sensible people will ask me, quite correctly, questions like ‘Why didn’t Character do the Cool Thing at other times, when it would have been useful?’ and my only answer is that it didn’t make for an interesting story, which is not a real answer at all.

Because we demand consistency, don’t we? We demand logic from our made-up worlds, or at least a rational approach to the existence of irrational powers. If your character has a squad of giant eagles at his beck and call you’d better have those feathered lads ready to fly at a moment’s notice, because there’s a certain type of reader who will call it a plot hole and pick at it obsessively until it becomes a running sore and your story contracts a lethal case of pedantry.

I used to be one of them.

I used to have a thing about Peter Jackson’s use of elves in his movie version of the Battle of Helm’s Deep. As my long-suffering family and friends will attest, I will rant on about how it makes no sense on any level, from travel times and the geography of Rohan to the historical differences between humans and elves. I even have maps, God help me. Except it does make sense on the most important level, the only one that really matters: that of the story. It doesn’t really matter how they got there or why. What matters is that their presence strengthened the narrative threads of hope and the necessity for diverse cultures to fight together against the forces of darkness.

So, I don’t know what Hester is. I don’t know how well or badly she fits under the labels of ‘ghost’ or ‘zombie’ or ‘witch’. I only know that my editors accomplished the herculean task of making me wrangle her into something which I hope makes sense, and that you find her as compelling and terrifying as I do.

If not, well: *waves hand*