We’re so pleased to welcome author Cornelia Grey today, on the tour for her new novel, The Empty Hour Glass. Enjoy Cornelia’s guest post, and then be sure to check out the giveaway details below.
Hello! I’m Cornelia Grey—welcome to the Empty Hourglass blog tour! At various tour stops, I’ll be sharing some secrets about my writing process, sources of inspiration and future projects!
Comment on each stop to be entered in a drawing for a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card and the two previous titles in the Deal with a Devil series—Devil at the Crossroads and The Circus of the Damned—in an e-book format of your choice. Thank you for joining me on the tour!
As some of my readers may have already noticed, I tend to favor fantasy settings for my stories, often with a historical veneer—based on Victorian England, for example, or at any rate featuring English names for the protagonists, with the exceptions of a story set in a fantasy version of Feudal Japan.
However, recently I have been thinking about integrating my travelling experiences in my stories. I spent several months in Japan, exploring Okinawa, Kyushu, a few islands and the area around Tokyo; I lived in the Spanish countryside around Granada; I spent some time in Germany and, most recently, I moved to work in Venice.
The German influence found its way in The Empty Hourglass: the village of Montrale, where the inventor Jethro Hastings lives in an isolated mansion, was inspired by Hannover’s Old Town area, with its spiky Gothic churches and the lovely white houses with black wooden beams crisscrossing on the front. I also used a few German names from my friends in the area for the villagers.
Strangely enough, though, I find myself really struggling when attempting to set my stories in Italy, which is my home country. I’m so used to reading fiction in English, and writing in English, that even using Italian names for places and characters in an English text seems… odd. I wonder if it has something to do with the same reason why many people seem more inclined to visit foreign countries rather than be tourists in their own. I remember chatting with a few Japanese citizens, who asked me why I would want to travel around their country, since it’s ‘so boring’; and I find myself scratching my head when I think about how popular a destination Italy is for crowds from all over the world.
I suppose it’s because all the things they find unique and fascinating about Italy, I grew up with, so to me they are just normal; and I assume my Japanese friends might feel the same way about their country. But maybe, living for so long abroad might help me see Italy with different eyes—to pinpoint what features might be interesting and fascinating discoveries for someone who has never visited it. Would people be interested in reading about life in the northern Langhe hills, with its grape harvests and traditional food, or in Eighteenth Century Venice with its gondolas and political intrigues? What would Farfarello, the devil from The Empty Hourglass, do if he was unleashed in Renaissance Florence?
I’ve been doing a lot of research about Venetian history recently for my PhD, and the amount of folktales, legends and ghost stories I discovered is staggering—there isn’t a well, a church or a tunnel in that city that doesn’t come with an interesting story attached. So I’ve started toying with a couple of ideas for a couple of ghost hunters living in 1700s Venice… maybe my next story will be set in Italy after all? And with all the legends about exorcisms and the devil running amok in Venice trying to trap unsuspecting victims, what do you think—maybe Farfarello ought to take a trip among the canals, too? 😉
About The Empty Hourglass: Thomas Escott has always wanted to be a toymaker, yet just as he achieves his dream, an accident claims his right hand. He’s certain his life is over—until he hears about groundbreaking prosthetics being made by a reclusive inventor.
Jethro Hastings is perfectly content to live alone up in the mountains working on a secret masterpiece: a humanoid automaton that will change the scientific community forever. He’s behind schedule, and the date of the unveiling is fast approaching, so when Thomas shows up on his doorstep offering help in exchange for a mechanical hand, Jethro agrees. Time, after all, is running out on another deal he’s made: one with the devil.
The devil gives Jethro’s inventions life, but he can just as quickly take life away—Jethro’s, to be exact. As the sand in the devil’s hourglass falls, marking the time until the end of the deal, inventions go haywire, people get hurt, and Thomas realizes he needs Jethro just as much as his prosthetic. Now he must find a way to save Jethro’s soul, but negotiating with a devil is just as difficult as it sounds.
About Cornelia Grey: Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.
After graduating with top grades, she is now busy with internships: literary agencies, publishing houses, and creative departments handling book series, among others. She also works as a freelance translator.
She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it.
To celebrate the release of The Empty Hourglass, Cornelia is giving away the two previous titles in the Deal with a Devil series—Devil at the Crossroads and The Circus of the Damned—in an e-book format of your choice, plus $15 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!