Monday, 9 January 2012

Heart of Stone blog tour: review plus guest post by M L Welsh

5th January 2012, 
Hardback & eBook
Review copy

Themes: friendships, family, getting on with people, arguments, school life, scary powers, sea, boats, knitting, baby sibling, tears, despair, finding hope where there is none, lots of danger, beware falling rock, generous grandfather

After a wonderful summer sailing, Verity Gallant just wants life to stay the same forever. But as she should know by now, not everything in life turns out as we would like. 

The land is shifting beneath the ancient harbour town of Wellow, causing mysterious caves to appear in cliff faces, terrifying rock falls and dangerous landslides. And the earth isn't the only thing crumbling...Verity is thrilled that Jeb has returned, but their feelings for each other threaten her friendship with Henry and Martha. 

Once again Verity and her friends are embroiled in a tale of evil, intrigue and lost love, as a powerful force works its way towards Wellow, hell-bent on putting an end to all happiness. The Heart of Stone is the key, and the race is on to find it. 

Nayuleska's thoughts
I love this more than book 1, Mistress of the Storm. It's seriously creepy how the earth witch affects the world. I'm glad it's not real! Verity struggles with life bombarding her at all angles, but at the end of the day friendship saves her and everyone else. This is most definitely a 10/10 - roll on book 3! 

Guest blog post from M. L. Welah

How did your knowledge of sailing the sea inspire or play a role in your writing?

This month sees the publication of my second children’s novel, Heart of Stone, the follow-up to Mistress of the Storm. Both books are adventure-mysteries featuring a young girl called Verity Gallant and both feature the sea, and sailing, prominently.

So I think it’s only fair to point out now that I am not actually any good at sailing: it’s just something I love to do.

Perhaps it was my amateur passion for the experience that made me so determined to put the sea and sailing at the heart of the Verity stories. But I think on a more subconscious level I wanted these books to be the kind of old-fashioned tale I read when I was a girl – and looking back on it now I realize that sailing has been a fantastic mechanism for introducing some of the elements I loved the most:

1. An escape from the adults
I read a lot of books from the forties and fifties when I was growing up. And what I particularly liked about them was how the adults would – with a lack of parental concern that seems quite hilarious now – disappear, leaving the children to sort things out. When my sister and I played dolls houses, all adult dolls were banished to the attic: quite right too. From a storytelling point of view, sailing does the same thing. It gets my characters away from interfering grown ups and leaves them free to talk on their own.

2. An element of danger
I’m not at all advocating a return to the gung-ho 1970s approach to health and safety buy I do think there’s an argument for helping children to learn about taking risks, accepting responsibility for their own actions and managing danger. Plus, of course, these are supposed to be adventure stories.

3. A source of solace
When you live in a coastal town the sea is constantly making its presence felt: it’s the first thing you see in the morning, its movement is a permanent soundtrack to your life and it changes by the minute. If you’ve grown up with that, then just sitting and watching the the ocean can be very soothing. So that’s why, when Verity or Henry are feeling upset, they tend to sit by the sea. I always used to find that kind of thing quite comforting in stories: it’s nice to remember you’re not the only person who sometimes feels completely useless.

But probably the most important reason, for me, to have sailing, as part of Verity’s story is that there’s nothing like the sense of freedom you get from it. In a dinghy in particular, you’re so close to the water, your face is covered in salt spray and the wind is blasting your cheeks. It’s freezing, exhausting, terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. It really reminds you that you’re alive. Trying to make those things real through Verity and Henry’s experience of the world has made writing the books brilliant fun to write. I hope it’s made them more enjoyable to read too, or at the very least, that it inspires people to try sailing for themselves. That would be a nice thing to have introduced to someone’s life.

If you’d like to find out more please go to for sample chapters and trailers.

 Thank you  for such an interest post - I hate boats and have a slightly more than health fear of water, and yet I absolutely love stories which involve sailing!

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