Friday, 5 August 2011

Dark Angels - Competition and Book Trailer

Please excuse my excitement.  (And the interruption to Fairytale Reflections, which will be back next week.) 

The fact is I’m jumping up and down, because my home-made booktrailer for my fourth book, ‘Dark Angels’ (US title ‘The Shadow Hunt’) went up on Youtube yesterday.  To celebrate, I’m launching a COMPETITION to win three signed copies of ‘Dark Angels’.  All you have to do to enter, is view the trailer and leave a comment about it either on Youtube or here on the blog.  Look out also for a parallel competition on twitter. Both will run until next Friday, August 12th, when there’ll be a draw for the winners. 



The book is set on and around the sinister, atmospheric Shropshire hill which in real life is called ‘Stiperstones’(and is pictured at the top of my blog).  In my book I renamed it ‘Devil’s Edge.’  The real hill has a formation of rocks on the crest known as The Devil’s Chair: the legend goes that the Devil comes to sit in it when the mist descends on the hill (so you’d better beware); and if anyone else sits in it, an immediate thunderstorm will break out.  I took the liberty of changing this slightly:

Wolf took another glance at the ridge.  Up on the very top, he had heard there was a road.  A road leading nowhere, a road no one used.  For if anyone was so bold as to walk along it, especially at night, he’d hear the clamour of hounds and the blowing of horns, the cracking of whips and the rumbling of a cart.  And out of the dark would burst the Devil’s own dog pack, dashing beside a black wagon drawn by goats with fiery eyes, crammed full of screaming souls bound for the pits of hell.

So off I went to Shropshire with a notebook and camera.  We stayed, in case anyone is interested, in the quaint little market town of Bishop’s Castle, and we tramped over Stiperstones in rain, in mist, and in sweeping wind.  We visited a wolf sanctuary set in a narrow little valley – it began to snow as we descended the steep track, and I’ll never forget the snow falling precipitously past the dark serried ranks of fir trees, and the wolves howling in the winter landscape.  We climbed the grassy mound which is all that’s left of the 11th century Montgomery stronghold of Hen Domen – the motte and bailey castle replaced by the stone fortress at Montgomery.  Neither were right for the filming: in the end we chose the oldest parts of nearby Stokesay Castle. 

And on a later trip, courtesy of a Shropshire mining and caving club, we crawled into the tight dark passages of an abandoned Roman copper mine, which became the entrance to elfland in my book.  It was very narrow and low: we went in on hands and knees: at one point you had to lie down. I’m not good in narrow spaces, so this shows what I will do in the interests of research. I wanted the underground sequences in my book to be truly authentic: I wanted the reader to feel as pinched and constrained as I was. The cave is called Ogof Llanymynech and may go as far back as the Bronze Age.  A hoard of Roman coins was found there in 1965. (I love the sense of deep time in the British landscape.)

So the landscape of my story is a patchwork of real locations pieced together, recognisable as the Welsh Marches, but renamed and reshaped so that I had the freedom of fiction as well as – I hope – a sense of real history and place. 

Writing the script for the trailer was almost like composing a poem: distilling the essence of a 65,000 word book into 100 words.  In fact the whole process was very like making poetry, trying to combine evocative words, imagery and sound. Anyway, here you can see all the elements I wove together in the book.  The stark skyline of ‘Devil’s Edge’, the rough moorland, the lonely castle, the claustrophobic darkness of the mine. Listen carefully and you may even hear wolves.

My thanks to Richard Hughes of the band We Are Goose, who composed and performed the haunting music, and edited and assembled the film.  


25 comments:

  1. Just viewed the trailer via facebook. It's wonderful - very atmospheric. Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Purrup - my fur is on end! Cat

    ReplyDelete
  3. The devil's edge is the same rock you are sitting on in the header-picture, isn't it? Nice trailer though I had my problems reading the text because it was fading so fast against the moving background. But hey, having to watch it a second time wasn't that bad, either :D

    Congratulations to your new book.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very well done! I particularly love the music and the countryside in the trailer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nicely done! Very atmospheric (it made me "homesick" for Wales and Devonshire, where I spent two weeks in '99 and have wanted to return ever since I got on the plane to come home!). I am very much looking forward to reading the book.

    I think that I (slightly) prefer the US title, but the UK cover is so much more interesting - US fantasy covers have become so generic in the last decade or two, they rarely tell you anything meaningful about the story... :(

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the music and imagery in the trailer, and the book sounds wonderful. Please enter me in the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well done, Kath. I thought the script was brilliant, and played very well against the visuals. Genuinely chilling! I can't not read the book now. Loved the alliteration in the excerpt above, too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Brilliant Kath congratulations. The music moves you thru. It's paradoxically soothing. The filming is class: in Wolf's POV shakily running thru the moors, the zoom in and zoom outs reflecting his courage and fear, and the camera angles reflecting daunting ascension or arduous climbing within...
    I couldn't state the story line in words as my left brain was fed small niblets leaving me panning the moors to put the pieces together.
    I feel compassion for Wolf's plight, admiration for his courage and confidence in his strength.
    The last words however, "Can the dead come back" feels Hollywoodish or sends me to a Wikipedia article on Paranormal. I feel the music and filming carry the ending on their own. The mantra-like guitar arpeggios suddenly unravelling and spraying the air with notes, and the door opening in the breeze to a blinding light both leave me standing... right there... on the spot. And I'll be there until I get my hands on the book and get to the last page. Barbara M

    ReplyDelete
  9. I found your blog through Terri Windling's blog and viewed your trailer. The music works beautifully with the visual scenes and words to build, build, build to your climax - I am intrigued by your concept and will look for your book. I always enjoy discovering new writers (new to me)!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just finished reading this book a few days ago! I've always loved Welsh/early British history and mythology, and the book spoke right to that love. The trailer was beautifully done - the music, especially, fit perfectly with the mood and words.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, I just found your blog from T. Windling's blog and I got so excited watching the video and can't wait to read the book. The whole time period has always been fascinating to me and anything connected to wolves (whether the animal or a person ;) really resonates with me. Thank you Katherine so much for the chance to win the book and I'll be telling others about your blog/video and book.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a cool trailer...even if I don't win, I'm buying it to read anyway. It'll make me want to go to Wales even more than I already do.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The trailer certainly captured my interest. I didn't know this is actually "Shadow Hunt", right? Only in the US? Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, that's right - the book got a different cover and title in the US. 'The Shadow Hunt' is the US title; 'Dark Angels' is the UK title.

    And Dominique, thanks! I hope you can get to Wales some time,it's beautiful. (I had a Welsh grandmother!)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've never seen a "trailer" for a book like this. I must say, I'm rather impressed. Quite well done for a home-made effort, and surprisingly engrossing in the simple artistry of it all. Just goes to prove you don't need multi-million dollar budgets to produce good work. A quality story and a few poignant images speak for themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I was over at Terri Windling's site and she said she adores your book which is good enough for me. I went right over to the American Amazon site to check if it was available for my Kindle. Unfortunately, it's not. My second floor apartment is in peril of crashing down to ground floor if I bring anymore books home and the Kindle is so much easier for me to hold and read (old arthritic hands). Any chance of a Kindle version? There are only three of the hardbacks left at Amazon, so it's selling and has a 4 1/2 star rating.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sam, thankyou!
    Diane, I'm honoured by Terri's recommendation. And yes, you can buy the book from Amazon.com as a Kindle edition, under the UK title 'Dark Angels':
    http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Angels-ebook/dp/B0046RE5AY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312789090&sr=1-1

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wow what a great trailer, you've done a fantastic job! Makes you wonder if the book would make a good film too...
    I love the fact that you've based it within a real landscape and walked in that landscape, with the rain on your face and slick on the rocks underfoot. Just from your description of walking there in the weather I already feel a real sense of the place that will surely make your setting in the book even more powerfully vivid...
    Horns blowing on Devils Edge... I can't wait to get reading that!Your trailers got me hooked already!
    Carrie :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the music, and the landscape is so evocative. I can picture a story unfolding there without even having read the book.

    That said, a book about a faerie tithe will always catch my interest!

    ReplyDelete
  20. That was so much fun - sitting here in southern Australia I was suddenly and totally swept away to old Shropshire and the borders of faery. So i have to read the book!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Elizabeth, thanks! So glad to have provided the magic carpet to take you there...

    Shveta and Carrie, thanks for your lovely comments too.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Loved it! Had a bit of trouble reading the script but it's probubly my eyes ;) My most favorite part (aside from interesting the book sounds!!) is the view of the countryside. I can't wait to get my hands on this book, either if I win or not!!! Thank you for the opportunity to win~ Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Love the trailer Katherine, very haunting. I've read the book too and thought it was a brilliant read.

    ReplyDelete