The Moonstone Legacy by Diana de Gunzberg and Tony Wild
In a sacred cave high in the mountains of northern India, a white-haired hermit sits cross-legged, and signs his final testament: “George Abercrombie, 1874...”
In present-day England, the mother of fourteen-year-old Lizzy Abercrombie dies in a tragic accident under the full moon. But was it really an accident? Lizzy discovers that her death may be linked to a mysterious family curse.
Determined to solve the mystery, her quest takes her from an Anglo-Indian mansion on the Yorkshire moors to India, where she uncovers the terrible truth about her ancestor and a stolen inheritance. But her discoveries put her in mortal danger from a ruthless enemy…
1. Is there a specific time or place that you do your best writing in?
From five in the morning (summer) or seven (winter) until lunchtime. At home in the heart of the French countryside.
OR in cafés in Paris where one watch the world go by while reflecting or simply being productively vacant.
OR on long trains journeys. Where one can also watch the world go by while reflecting or simply being productively vacant.
2. Who were your favourite authors as a teenager? Are they different to your current favourites?
I loved spooky stuff.
Ian Niall's The Boy Who Saw Tomorrow. The title explains it all. Terrifying, and pretty much out of print these days.
The Haunting of Borley Rectory by Harry Price. A non-fiction book about Britain's most haunted house. There were photographs of 'a brick floating in mid-air' and mysterious ghostly handwriting that appeared on the wallpaper saying only 'Marianne'. Fraudulent poppycock, of course, but the fact that it posed as non-fiction made it very powerful.
and not spooky stuff....such as
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer. Quite why my father thrust this early feminist track into my impressionable sixteen year old hands, I'm not sure, but it has stuck with me ever since.
The Ship of Adventure by Enid Blyton. Standard Blyton adventure fare, but with the benefit of being much longer than usual, so over less soon.
The Hornblower series by C.S. Forester. Riveting high jinks on the high seas.
Billy Bunter series. Frank Richards. My maths teacher, Capt Hamilton, used to read it to the class as an end of term treat (only he generally started four weeks before the end of term). It features one Hurree Ram Singh in one story, my first experience of a tale set in India.
The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. An essential adolescent right of passage. Dense, deep and meaningless.
I've read none of the above since, and have no urge to do so.
3. If you were only allowed to take three books to a desert island, what would they be?
The Bible, Shakespeare, and Down with Skool by Geoffrey Willands and Ronald Searle. Anarchic, but spot on.
4. Is there a novel that you wish you’d written? Why?
Lifemanship by Stephen Potter, a almost forgotten 1950's humourist. Unbeatably preposterous illustrations. More psychologically incisive and actually useful than Freud's Interpretation of Dreams or Jung's Memories, Dreams and Reflections.
5. How did the collaboration with Diana come about? Was it difficult?
We've worked together on lots of creative projects over the years, and so no, it was inevitable, not difficult.
6. What was it about the original story of The Moonstone that made you want to develop the tale further?
It's practically the only Western novel in which India and the Indians are treated respectfullly.
7. Are you working on anything at the moment? Can you tell us anything about it?
Books Two and Three of The Moonstone Legacy. The story evolves, as does Lizzy, our heroine.
Last Stop: Lyndsey at Narratively Speaking
Next Stop: Jean at Magic Bean Review
Thank you, Tony! You can visit the official book website and read my review of The Moonstone Legacy here.