The Child's Secret
Guest Post & Review
Guest Post & Review
I would like to welcome the author of The Child's Secret, Amanda Brooke talking about the location of her book and there is a clue in there that the location might be used again........
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
When I begin to plan a new book, I concentrate first and foremost on the people and the situation that are central to the plot, and while I have an idea of the surroundings, I don’t often consider the location until I’m literally at the point of starting that first chapter. This isn’t possibly the greatest strategy and it has been known to catch me out. I was geared up to start writing Where I Found You when I realised I hadn’t settled on a particular location, even though I already had a very clear picture in my head of the imaginary park where much of the story would take place. I quickly realised that of all the parks I knew in and around Liverpool, they didn’t quite fit with what I needed so I resorted to using Google Earth to extend my search. The problem was I needed to find that all important park bench where my main characters would meet and although Google is usually an author’s best friend, it didn’t come up with the goods. I didn’t want to compromise and dismantle this imaginary world that had become so familiar to me so I had no choice but to create my very own Victoria Park in the fictional town of Sedgefield. It’s a town ‘somewhere,’ in the Cheshire countryside and I even made a return visit in my novella If I Should Go.
There’s a chance the town will reappear in a future book too and writing about a place that doesn’t really exist has its advantages, but I do like writing about real places too, especially Liverpool where I’ve lived all my life. When I do write about my home town, I try to choose places that aren’t so well-known, and in Another Way to Fall in particular, I had fun taking my characters to parts of Liverpool that readers might not be so familiar with, such as St Luke’s Church (locally known as The Bombed Out Church), The Palm House in Sefton Park and Otterspool Promenade. And even though I thought I knew these places really well, when it came to describing the detail, I quickly realised I wasn’t as observant as I thought I was. There were quite a few emergency dashes to local spots so I could pick out the subtle detail such as the colour of the railings or the view from a particular entrance.
Sometimes however, I like to take a little poetic licence and alter locations, occasionally because the story needs it, but mostly because I simply don’t like moving my characters into some poor unsuspecting person’s home. In The Missing Husband, you won’t find Beaumont Avenue and you’d be hard pressed to find the short cut to the station either.
It was only when I came to write The Child’s Secret, that the location was never in doubt, and that was because the initial inspiration for the story had come from a real place. I had the germ of an idea for a story where my main character would be able to find out a little girl’s secret wishes, but I hadn’t come up with the device I needed to pull the story together. It was only when I was taking a stroll around Calderstones Park in Liverpool that I remembered the Allerton Oak which is supposed to be a thousand years old. By the time I left, the Wishing Tree had come to life in my mind and I knew I had a book to write.
A little girl is missing. Her parents are hiding something. Who will pay the price?
When eight-year-old Jasmine Peterson goes missing, the police want to know everything.
What is local park ranger, Sam McIntyre, running away from and why did he go out of his way to befriend a young girl?
Why can’t Jasmine’s mother and father stand to be in the same room as each other?
With every passing minute, an unstoppable chain of events hurtles towards a tragic conclusion.
Everyone has secrets. The question is: who will pay the price?
Jasmine is a little girl who lives with her Mum Laura and her Dad Finn. She goes on a school trip to a park where there is a very old tree that the Park Ranger Sam says has magic powers and if you write a note and put it near the tree, it can grant wishes!
Poor Jasmine is desperate for her Dad to get a job as being out of work is making him very unhappy and abusive, therefore her Mum is also sad and home life is far from idyllic. So when she finds out that the "Wishing Tree" can grant wishes, what harm can it do?
Sam is a Park Ranger and loves teaching the local school children about nature and especially telling stories about the Wishing Tree.
When Jasmine goes missing the police question Sam as they seem to think he was involved. I loved how the chapters went from the present (when Sam was questioned) and then back to before and up to Jasmine's disappearance.
Everyone is a suspect, including Sam's girlfriend Anna and his landlady Selina, who has more to her past than even Sam knows about!
There was a good mix of characters in the book. Jasmine was a sweet, good natured little girl who just wanted her Dad to love her. Her Mum Laura seemed quite weak at first, but I loved it when she came in to her own when Jasmine disappeared. Anna wasn't all she seemed and it was great to see these characters changing throughout the story. I think my favourite character was landlady Selina. She was always loyal and looking out for Sam and only wanted the best for him.
I loved this book as it keeps you guessing right up until the very last page (and I mean the very last page!!) about what happens to Sam.
I definitely want to read more from this author as I was thoroughly engrossed in this book.
Thank you to Jaime Frost at Harper Collins for sending me a copy to review.