Undercliff is the debut novel from Mark Brend.
Published on 30th May with Hornet Books, I am delighted to join the blog tour with Love Books Group today bringing you all a guest post from Mark Brend, entitled ‘A Sense of Place’…….and a map!!
I do hope you enjoy….
[ Undercliff – About the Book ]
It’s the summer of 1972, and 30-something divorcee Martyn returns to London after some years away. He joins the Olive Grove, a religious community, where he forms a relationship with Amelia.
Over time Martyn becomes suspicious of the Olive Grove’s leaders, a pair of apparently ordinary men who can speak in perfect unison, known as the Two. A sequence of ambiguous events might indicate that the Two have malign purposes, though Martyn cannot be sure. These suspicions come to a head when Amelia breaks off with Martyn and appears to vanish.
He travels to Devon, where the Olive Grove has a retreat house, in search of Amelia and the truth about the organisation. There, events take several disturbing and unexpected turns
Guest Post – A Sense of Place
by Mark Brend
I’ve always been drawn to novels with a vivid sense of place – a house, a city, a stretch of moorland. The characters seem more convincing if they live and act out their parts in plausible locations, whether obviously fictional constructions, or descriptions of real places. Of course, the writing is the main thing that creates that sense of place, but I always welcome a map, too.
The sort I like look like they were knocked out by the author as an afterthought. Typically, they’ll feature a simple outline of the main features of the landscape, and a few handwritten notes. There are examples in Josephine Tey’s The Man In The Queue, and Geoffrey Household’s Summon The Bright Water. Both give the sense that maybe the author is using the map to orientate themself, as much as the reader.
Tey’s map is unusual in that it’s embedded in the text, about two thirds of the way in, when the action had moved from London to Scotland. Household’s rendering of the Severn Estuary is more typical in that it appears at the beginning of the book, before the story starts. Both are simple black ink line drawings, obviously done by hand. I’ve no idea if Tey or Household drew them themselves, though I think – hope – they did. Both help the reader understand the lie of the land, explaining detail necessary for fully grasping the story.
I knew from early on that I wanted a map in Undercliff, which is largely set in a lightly fictionalised version of the east Devon coast. I also knew I probably wouldn’t have the skill to do it myself. It had to look like it was drawn by Martyn Hope, the character who narrates the book. I had a go but my efforts were too amateur even for the effect I was after, so I asked the illustrator Lucy Panes to help out. I gave her the relevant Ordnance Survey map, my own rough sketch and a copy of the Household map for reference. She got it exactly right at the first attempt. Here it is:
[ Bio ]
Mark Brend is a writer and a musician based in Devon. He has written several books about music and has released six albums under various artist names.
Undercliff is Mark’s first novel.
Twitter – @MinuteBook