St Catherine’s chapel is not the only chapel featuring in my third novel The Right Place.
Another fantastic location – which I discovered thanks to Louise Hodgson’s wonderful book Secret Places of West Dorset – is St Luke’s chapel on the Ashley Chase estate, close to Abbotsbury.
To get to this hidden and ruined chapel, you have to walk through a lovely wood aptly named Chapel Coppice. The coppice and the chapel are both part of the Ashley Chase estate which is located in its own, secluded valley just behind Abbotsbury Castle. It is a peaceful place with an eerie edge to it.
In The Right Place, Sir Ronald Sinclair's house, Genius Loci, is inspired by several big houses such as Kingston Lacy and Norburton Hall, but its location is that of Ashley Chase House as I needed it to be close to Abbotsbury.
These are the graves of the Scottish industrialist David Milne-Watson and his wife Olga, who built Ashley Chase House in the 20s. They loved the chapel and it was their wish to be buried there.
Yesterday, a thick sea fret (or sea fog) was pouring in from the coast – you could see it travelling through the landscape like fluid curtains of gauze, adding a layer of mystery to an already inspiring, ancient landscape. It was truly exhilarating to walk around the damp countryside, not seeing one human being, accompanied by birds and the noise of the wind in the trees…
The second month of my writing residency at the superb Norburton Hall is coming to an end, and it is with great sadness that I will be on my way back to the South East after another amazing month down in Dorset.
Inspiration has been all around me, and I am confident that I am now equipped with enough material to complete the first draft within the next six months.
We have also been house-hunting in the area, but that's another story. Let's say that we leave with a tiny hope of getting a lovely old house by the sea which would be the ideal artist's and writer's HQ for all our projects...
In the meantime, let's concentrate on The Right Place, my third novel, set in the county of Dorset.
Quite a lot of the action will be set around the Abbotsbury area, and the fantastic St Catherine's chapel will feature heavily. Indeed, I could even say that it will be a major character in the novel.
We went back there two days ago and took a few new photos (you can see some more on The Right Place's page HERE...
Below, to illustrate the pictures, I am posting a few raw extracts of my manuscript in progress (which means they are the first things that came out when I sat down to write and nothing has been worked on properly yet!). Obviously, they still need a lot of work, but you'll get the gist of what I am trying to achieve here!
Kat put her pen down [...] She realised that she hadn’t closed the curtains and that beyond the white window pane, the perfect black hole of the Dorset night was gawping at her: just a mass of opaque, complete, homogeneous jet-black nothingness. Kat dared herself to keep looking at that blackness without flinching.
The Right Place, draft 1.1
Some of the wishes had obviously been scribbled in haste in the midst of some sort of emotional whirlwind, on the first paper support the writer had found: a sticky note, the torn lined page of a notebook, or even the back of a supermarket receipt, often in biro or pencil. Then you had the ones that had obviously been composed carefully, thoughtfully. Those had been written down at the back of a postcard purchased in a local art gallery, on letter paper or on a posh bit of card.
The Right Place, draft 1.1
Tomorrow, I will be posting about the Ashley Chase estate which I am also using as inspiration for my book. There will be a hidden chapel!
Tickets are now on sale for the Arcane Publishing/Oil 54 event LONDON: Winter Tales on February 27th 2016 in central London.
There are only 45 (seated) tickets, and they are going fast!
For more info about the event, either go to the event's official Facebook page HERE or go to the Arcane Events page HERE.
Every ticket holder will be sent a booklet with pictures and interviews of all the artists appearing at the event!
See you there!
I think therefore I write.
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