Hello everyone! Today I’m excited to welcome author Helen Grant to my blog and kick off her Forbidden Spaces blog tour. To celebrate the publication of her latest novel, Helen wrote a special guest post (in collaboration with a number of other authors you will recognise) for you guys – I really hope you enjoy it!
The lure of the forbidden: it never gets old. The theme of my Forbidden Spaces trilogy is urban exploration. Over the course of the three novels, heroine Veerle De Keyser explores opulent empty houses, several castles (including one with a torture chamber) and the rooftops of an ancient city. The final book, Urban Legends, takes us underground to railway tunnels and sewers as brutal serial killer De Jager pursues Veerle and her friend Kris in a terrifying personal vendetta.
Of all my books, researching Urban Legends was probably the most fun, and the most exciting. I went out with some real urban explorers to visit an abandoned factory; I also went down into the Brussels sewers and visited abandoned railway tunnels.
To celebrate the publication of Urban Legends on 26th March, I asked some of my fellow authors what forbidden places they would like to visit – it doesn’t have to be an abandoned building, it could be anywhere at all that you normally can’t go! Here’s what they said.
Emma Haughton, author of Now You See Me and Better Left Buried: “The vault in MI5 or wherever the government hides all its secrets. I would love to find out what is really going on. But then, I’d probably implode with outrage and indignation!”
Sarah Naughton, author of The Blood List: “The famous but possibly apocryphal tunnels under London.”
Dawn Kurtagich, whose novel The Dead House is out in August: “I would love to go to the Antarctic—to the south pole. They only let researchers go, generally, I think.”
Janet Edwards, author of the Earth Girl trilogy: “White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, because of what ended up as a very brief reference to White Sands in Earth Girl. It’s amazing the varied things I find myself researching for books. The last one was JCB mini digger controls, and before that it was kangaroos.”
Kate Kelly, author of Red Rock: “Area 51. Just to see if the rumours are true. Plus I like aliens!”
Rachel Hamilton, author of The Case of the Exploding Loo: “When I was younger (and, okay, I admit it, I’m still slightly intrigued) I always wanted to visit the secret Coca Cola recipe vault (used to be in Suntrust Bank but was apparently moved to World of Coca Cola in Atlanta Georgia in 2010) to find out how they made coke. Apparently only three people in the world know the complete formula and I’m all about the world’s really important secrets.”
Eve Ainsworth, author of Seven Days: “I’d like to visit the forbidden parts of Buckingham Palace – overhear conversations, see what the royals are really like behind closed doors.”
Leila Rasheed, author of Emeralds and Ashes: At Somerton: “Cyrene, Libya.”
Emma Pass, author of Acid and The Fearless: “It’s not exactly forbidden any more, as they now allow tourists to visit some parts of it, but I’d love to go to Hashima Island in Japan. I based Hope Island in The Fearless on it and thought it sounded absolutely fascinating.”
Tamsyn Murray, author of Completely Cassidy- Accidental Genius: “Mine is having the freedom to wander around Petra, with no other tourists there, to absorb the weight of history from its walls and imagine what life was like in its heyday.”
Susie Day, author of Pea’s Book of Holidays: “I love the underground stacks in the Bodleian Library, especially the tunnel below the Radcliffe Camera that runs under Broad Street. It’s not beautiful (the shelves are metal, not wood, with striplighting and boring office space, when you sort of expect it to look like Hogwarts), and there’s a conveyer belt moving the books that makes it incredibly noisy. But I love that every time I cross that road, there’s this whole other world below…”
Joanna Nadin, author of The Time of My Life (Rachel Riley Diaries): “The Necropolis Railway under London that took the dead out to a giant cemetery. And the bunkers under the Cabinet Office. And the ghost stations. The secret underground London basically.”
Rhian Ivory, author of The Boy Who Drew The Future (out in September): “I’d like to visit the ballroom under the lake at Witley Park, Surrey. To get to it you have to go through a doorway in a tree, then down some steps, followed by a boat ride across the lake. The property is not open to the public and apparently there are at least 3 padlocks on the great big doors that lead to the ballroom.”
Helen Grant’s Forbidden Spaces trilogy is Silent Saturday, Demons of Ghent and now Urban Legends, out on 26th March from Corgi. Find out more about Helen on her website or follow her on Twitter @helengrantsays.