In solving the mystery at the Last Chance Hotel, Seth has discovered a world of magic. Swept up in the new MagiCon case investigating ghostly goings-on at the Snakesmouth Lighthouse, he is determined to prove himself. But when eccentric owner Mina Mintencress is murdered, Seth realizes danger lurks around every corner.
With the help of his cat, Nightshade, Seth must put his new-found magic to the test. Can they unmask a sinister sorcerer … before it’s too late?
Awaiting the Muse by Nicki Thornton
I don’t know many people who can listen to lyrics when actually putting words on a page.
But what else conveys an emotion more instantly than music? I find music brilliant for doing that really difficult job of capturing the emotion you want your reader to feel – when your only tools are the words on the page.
Expressing emotion is so easy – if you can write music!
I have particular songs for characters, but I also have musical themes for scenes and relationships.
One of the great things of doing a second book with the same main characters, is letting the characters develop. And in The Bad Luck Lighthouse I was definitely striving for Seth to be less wistful and wide-eyed, and start to demand a few answers and ask questions about his place in the world.
In a house with two teenagers who play piano, guitar and drums between them, mine is a house full of sound; and very often the sort of music that’s about exactly these sorts of questions and emotions. No surprise that this book is a bit of a Muse-fest.
If Muse aren’t playing somewhere in the house, one of their tracks is usually roaming about in my head. If I were to be able to turn anyone’s music into books, it would be theirs: at times angry, at all times beautiful and astonishing and brilliantly unexpected.
‘Butterflies and Hurricanes’ really helped me with Seth’s journey in this book. He is starting to think about what he wants to achieve and recognising that it’s not going to be easy – and that you do have choices. Having to be the change, that fights and battles have begun, and that your time is now – that is so how I want readers to feel about Seth.
‘Starlight’ might be a love song, but it’s mostly about missing people close to you – and helps express the unconscious relationship Seth senses about his mother. That feeling that you are completely adrift from who you want to be with and where you should be, and not really knowing how to get back.
‘Knights of Cydonia’ is the song I keep going back to as the action reaches a crescendo, and can just have on loop until the scene is done.
My own boys were very inspired to play by their cousin, who is an incredible musician and can actually write music. One of the absolutely best things that has happened since my first book, The Last Chance Hotel, was published, is that it inspired my nephew to write music set in Seth’s world. His pieces of atmospheric brilliance capture all the creepiness and mystery, plus magic of the setting and the story.
So proud and delighted to have someone in the family who can write music, and if music can inspire stories and stories can inspire music – how wonderful to be part of that.
THE BAD LUCK LIGHTHOUSE – sequel to Nicki’s bestselling debut THE LAST CHANCE HOTEL – is out now, priced £6.99.
Nicki Thornton is an author, children’s book expert and co-founder of Mostly Books in Oxfordshire. She was always destined to write mystery stories, having been born in Southsea, the same place Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the first two Sherlock Holmes books. She is a champion of independent bookshops and their importance, having run one with her husband for over ten years. Her debut novel, THE LAST CHANCE HOTEL, was the winner of the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition 2016, and was inspired by hearing children talk about the books they love.
Connect with Nicki on Twitter: @nicki_thornton