A Stolen Floor
That’s the earthen floor of the medieval great hall at Drum Castle.
I love it.
So I took it!
From Chapter 3 of THE MERMAID AND THE BEAR:
Bessie had shown me the great hall, a huge room that put one in mind of a church. Sunlight fell through twelve windows, making narrow shapes on the earthen floor of that place…
I did rather fill up my writer’s swag bag at Drum.
Below is a beautiful bedpost…
“It’s beautiful, Thomas,” I said, walking into the room and running my hands up and down the dark smooth wood of the bedposts which were swirled with infinite oak leaves.
I don’t have a good picture of the dungeon there, though I pilfered that too. It’s a terrible place with a narrow stairway leading down, down, down into the dank. However, bats were roosting in it the last couple of times I visited the castle, and they’re a protected species so it was absolutely forbidden to disturb them. Which was quite a relief really… but here is a pictorial quote from the book:
And into the swagbag goes…
A forest view from a high window at Crathes Castle
From Chapter 38:
I sat up on my seat by the three thin windows and watched the first golden shafts of morning light creep over the tops of the trees in the forest.
A Secret Stairway
From beautiful Craigievar I took the secret stairway that runs from top to bottom of the castle, strictly no photos allowed inside…
From Chapter 28:
We were in another passage, small and stony and grey, and after a short way it led to a narrow stairwell that was not lit by torches and sconces like the big one, but dark and shadowy and hidden. Secret. Indeed safe. For now.
The Laird’s Lug
Castle Fraser gave me it’s triangular peep-hole and ‘Laird’s Lug’.
From Chapter 28:
I told the Laird, and he took his turn at the peephole and gave the scene a long assessing look. “It is a pity there is so much noise tonight; we could have made out their words otherwise, the walls of the lug are thinned in places and shaped to augment speech made in the hall.”
I think that’s enough of my rampant thievery for one post – there may be others – so I’ll leave you with this recent review of the book from Terry Tyler, a brilliant writer herself. Actually – I can’t help myself – I’ll just steal a quote from that too:
Ailish Sinclair’s portrayal of 16th century, wild rural Scotland is quite magical. On one recent evening I was curled up in bed, head on cushions and lights dimmed, and I found that I was revelling in every description of the countryside, the day-to-day life at the castle (particularly the Christmas revellry; this made me long to be in the book myself!), the suggestion of ancient spirituality, and the hopes and dreams of the characters. Suddenly I realised that I’d gone from thinking ‘yes, this is a pleasant enough, easy-read’ to ‘I’m loving this’.
And here’s a wee picture of my author copies, or swag bags, if you will. Buy your own here on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle.
From the Press and Journal: New book by Fraserburgh author highlights horrific extent of witch trials in Scotland
Keep up to date with all my news, witchy and otherwise, by signing up to the mailing list. It’s a more intimate space than the blog and always contains some exclusive photos.
My Other Books
Set in 1st century Scotland, my latest novel, SISTERS AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, includes the battle of Mons Graupius between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes. The book features a neurodivergent main character and some rather complicated romance!
“Ethereal and spellbinding….” Historical Novel Society
See the press release here
Read the article Roman Aberdeenshire features in author’s new book from Grampian Online.
FIREFLIES AND CHOCOLATE was inspired by the kidnapped children and young people of Aberdeen. The story follows the adventures of Elizabeth Manteith from the castle and her determined efforts to get back home. There’s love. There’s derring-dos on the high seas… And there’s chocolate!
See the publisher’s Press Release here
Review from the Historical Novel Society
65 Replies to “Things I Stole From Castles”
Congratulations! It’s always exciting to get those first copies in your hands. I wish you well with the sales. Thanks for the reminder of the many ways we authors can “steal” items from our research sites. (And all legally!)
Thank you Yes, a lot of “theft” goes into the writing!
Great post–stealing like an artist!
ANOTHER GREAT POST AILISH AND I LOVE SEEING THE CASTLES, CHINA
Castles are great
Love it!!! Great post and wonderful to see how you’ve been inspired. Stay Well!
Glad you like
Read it, reviewed it!
Thank you Noelle
I got my MLitt of Ethnology and Folklore from Aberdeen too many years ago. I live in the States, but every time I see your photos its like going home again. Love your work!
Thank you so much Dan; I’m glad you like the photos.
What a wonderful review. I’m going to read it!
I hope you enjoy it
This looks great! I just ordered a copy. 🙂
Thank you I hope you like it!
Beautiful! Thank you. (:
Glad you like
wow, some amazing pilfering going on here and good job too, it’s great to see a writer’s imagination at work. I’m off to amazon to order my copy. xxx
Yes, I do find castles spark the imagination! I hope you enjoy the book
It’s hardly surprising that you pinch these things for your books – castles are so inspiring! Well done for selective stealing, and congratulations on The Mermaid and the Bear. It looks wonderful.
Funnily enough, I literally steal bits of castles – I collect bits of fallen masonry as souvenirs. I’ve got a small chunk of Kenilworth Castle, Dunstanburgh and Richard III’s castle at Middleham in Yorkshire. They’re my little bits of medieval history, my pieces of the amazing kings and nobles who built, visited and lived in them. And I love them all. 🙂
Now that’s very naughty! But I can see it would make an amazing collection
It is – and I promise I’d only ever take small pieces of fallen masonry that I find on the ground. And it does make for a great collection. 🙂
I love the concept of a laird’s lug. We have one in Edinburgh castle too but it’s a kings lug. As a child if we listened behind a door we described it as lugging in.
I’ve never heard that expression before. Wonderful
Always such fun to receive that first box of author copies! A wonderful review. I’m enjoying it as well, but I’ve been waylaid from reading by writing for NaNoWriMo this month. Still, I’m managing a few stolen minutes here or there to sneak away into your story world. Looking forward to reading more.
Such a fun post! Now I’ll be on the look out for the snippets you’ve shared.
Hope Nano is going well for you!
Yes, so far so good. It’s wonderful to have extra time to stay immersed in my story. Thanks!
I just finished reading your book today! I loved it!
I’m so happy to hear this
Allow me one giant SIIIIIIIIIGH
As much as I do love the US and my new home in the Mid West, I have to admit that the ancestral isles of Western Europe call to me! The pictures and passages you shared made my heart ache a little.
Sorry to make you sigh… I hope there was some enjoyment in there too.
Oh, they were good sighs!! I rather relish things that make my.heart yearn, so, definitely good sigh!
Wonderful writing and “stolen” photographs, congratulations on the book!
Thank you 🙂
Never been to Drum castle, but that inner bailey looks like a small version of the Chateau overlooking Annecy, France. Some great ‘Castle’ inspiration over in France – and lots of historical links with Scotland no doubt.
I would love to visit some French castles!
It’s what we do. Steal things.
Really we practice the art of ‘noticing’ and translating into words 🙂
That’s a much nicer way of putting it.
Not such a catchy title for a post though 🙂
What a fantastic idea! I may have to become more of a picture-taker so that when I see something that is beautiful or inspires me, I can use these images in my mind for writing.
I do find having the photos useful, not just for blogging, but for study and musing too.
Well you are supposed to write about what you know, Ailish. 😉 It’s wonderful to find the inspiration you need in the places you visit and the people you meet. Love the photos.
The inspiration is great fun too
Hi AIlish, I picked up my copy from Waterstones in Ashford, Kent yesterday after they contacted me to come. Look forward to reading it and left a copy of my book with the manager. best Nick
I hope you get some interest 🙂
Just such beautiful photos.
Glad you like 🙂
Hi Ailish! Love the photos and love your work. I’ve nominated you for a Sunshine Blogger Award on my latest post if you want to check it out. Hope you’re well 🙂
Magical! Continue to heal, write, and capture moments:)
Thank you 🙂
What is a “writer’s swag bag”? Is it writing descriptions on things you experience for later use?
Well, I don’t write them down at the time. It’s just a humorous way of describing information gathered during research for writing. And it’s fun
You totally just sold me on this book! I love how you write about stolen things from the castle, and how they’re incorporated into the story. This is what we do, when we get the chance to do it!
Lovely research 🙂
Thanks for showing us the borrowed castles from your book!
You’re welcome 🙂
Oh god, I didn’t realise this was for the book, I thought this was just things you took from castles like “look at this pretty stone I saw” and I was so confused on how you took a whole floor until I read the paragraph example from the book, lot less confused after that.
Beautiful pictures and beautiful paragraphs/writing!
Ha ha! Yes, the theft of a whole floor would have been impressive 🙂
Rampant thievery! Lol! Love the connections to your book and the pictures!
Glad you like 🙂
Novels are the best places to store bits from castles!
They really are 🙂