As I said last week, I’m going to devote the last few Mondays before the release of HUNTING THE DARK to blog posts about All Things Moth. Because, after waiting more than two years since FALLING TO ASH, it’s nice to finally be talking about my girl again.
Something I get asked a lot is: Kaz, why did you choose to set Falling to Ash in Boston when you are, in fact, English and based in the UK?
The straightforward answer is kind of boring. It’s just that I love Boston and couldn’t not set Moth’s adventures there. Marie O’Neal (as Moth was born) is a girl from an Irish-Catholic family (hey, like me!), so it seemed like Boston would be a good place to choose if I wanted to write something set in the US. Which I did. You probably noticed that The Iron Witch books are also set in Massachusetts – I might have made up the large town of Ironbridge, but it is loosely based on a combination of Boston and London. Or at least on the parts that I know.
The first time I went to Boston was in the Fall of 2002. My mum and I had a brilliant holiday together, and we both just fell in love with the city. Everything about it was magical. And, yes, I know that sounds totally whimsical and (maybe even) a little over the top, but I can’t help myself. I have plenty of American friends who say how much they’d love to live in London, and I look at them like they are a bit strange. Probably there are plenty of Bostonians who’d think the same about me for loving their city quite as much as I do. But… there you have it. Something about the place just spoke to me. We went again of course. That time was during the winter so we saw Boston under more snow than I’ve ever seen in my life! It was just as beautiful – if cold – and showed us another side of the city.
Here’s part of a scene/flashback that appears in HUNTING THE DARK. The setting is a secret spot that I sat in myself, 12 years ago, and I just knew that this had to be where Moth first met Theo…
Sitting by the Charles River (2002)
Excerpt from Hunting the Dark:
Theo didn’t seem to be in a hurry to talk about much of anything at all.
His eyes gleamed silver in the half-light, and I watched him as I thought of the very first night we met. I picked at the memory like a scab, afraid that if I let it heal it might fade forever and not even leave a scar.
Some memories are both painful and necessary.
I am sitting in my favorite spot along the Charles River, watching the sailboats and a lone canoe heading back to harbor. The air is still and the sunset perfect. My sketchpad lies beside me on the slatted bench. I came out here to escape, but I don’t feel like drawing right now. All I can think about is Mom and the news we got from her oncologist – yet more bad news.
I become peripherally aware of someone sitting at the other end of my bench. Joining me, but giving me the illusion of space. I stiffen, refusing to turn my head to see who has disturbed my peace.
‘May I?’ A low voice, smooth and filled with warmth.
I look at my uninvited guest, wishing I had the right to ask him to leave. His hand is resting on the closed cover of my sketchpad, and his face is tilted in question as he regards me curiously. I realize that he is asking about my drawings rather than whether or not I mind him joining me.
Holy crap, I think. Holy crap, he looks like an angel. Or maybe more like a devil, with hair as dark as mine and a black suit that seems to flow with every movement of his lithe body. I have never seen anyone who looks quite like this. He could be a model, a movie star . . . or something else entirely.
* * *
Next week I probably won’t manage a #MothMonday post, but I’ll be back on Monday 29th December with the third of this mini-series – see you then, if you’re looking for a little distraction between Christmas and New Year. 😉
Happy Holidays to all!