Italy has always been on Erin and my bucket lists.

When we decided to write a book centered around a death trial, it seemed logical to base it on the circuses of Ancient Rome. From Rome, it was a simple jump to canals, tinkling fountains on the piazza, and a palazzo of villas with bright blue doors. The next thing we knew, we were on a plane headed to Venice for some book research.

The smell of lapping seawater, rotting buildings, and edgy evenings in mosaic-floored piazzas came straight out of our week in Venice. Heaven.

Able and Infirm Explained

The story behind the Able and the Infirm is heart-wrenching. I've made a very short video to show where they came from, and why we included them in the series.

Now, about that poisoned garden? 

I blame Facebook for that. While plotting out the first book in the series, I saw a movie about the Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland in the UK. I was fascinated by it and knew that our Aurora had to have her own lethal garden. Click the link to watch the video.

The Steampunk horse that forged a hedge of Guardians

Once again, I have to thank Facebook for its power to inspire. While plotting out the series, I took some time off work to trawl my feed -as one does, if you are an internet junkie...

Anyway, I saw this stunning picture, and, in a blur, our very plain iron briar hedge grew into the fantastical steam-and-alchemy driven Guardians.

The Guardians and their influence on magic are pivotal to our story, so I’m very grateful to boredpanda for the link to the incredible artist, Hasan Novrozi, who inspired our giant, mermaid, dryad and centaur Guardians mentioned in the story. 

And that, dear reader, was how the series was born. A bit of this, a dash of that, and way too much time spent on Facebook…

 

I hope this peek behind the scenes makes the story even more memorable and exciting for you.