Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Guest Post: Sharon Booth - 'Resisting Mr Rochester'

Today I' m welcoming lovely fellow author Sharon Booth onto my blog to talk about her latest novel 'Resisting Mr Rochester', which is out now! Here's Sharon to tell you more about the book, and the inspiration behind it...

Thank you very much, Michelle, for inviting me onto your blog today, to talk about my sixth novel, Resisting Mr Rochester, which is now available to buy for Kindle—paperback edition coming soon!

As you've probably guessed, this book is loosely (very loosely) based on Charlotte Brontë's wonderful novel, Jane Eyre, and so it was the perfect excuse to drag my poor, gullible husband along on a research trip, to the Brontë Parsonage in Haworth.

The Brontë Parsonage
DH is not one for trawling around museums, stately homes and the like, and over the last year or so he has been very obliging—chauffeuring me around, and nobly accompanying me as I wandered the halls of so many fascinating places.
He's not a great reader, either. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen him pick up a book in all the years I've lived with him - and that's a lot of years. So, I think it was pretty decent of him to drive me all the way from East Yorkshire to the unfamiliar territory of West Yorkshire—especially since it was pouring with rain and there was no possibility of taking a walk that day. (See what I did there? It's a Brontë thing!)

Anyway, we duly headed off to Haworth, and found the Parsonage, and paid our entrance fee. Then, we wandered round to the front door and I reached for the handle...
It's not an exaggeration to say my hand was shaking at that point. I have been to the Parsonage before, but it was many years ago, and it felt like the first time all over again. Jane Eyre has been my favourite novel for so long. Knowing I was walking into the actual house that Charlotte Brontë lived in was an awe-inspiring experience.

At the time we visited, back in March, there was an exhibition on to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Branwell Brontë's birth. Having watched To Walk Invisible at Christmas, it was very moving to see the replica of his bedroom, with all its mess and chaos representing the turmoils of Branwell's troubled mind. Costumes, props and plans from To Walk Invisible were also on display, and will be—I believe—until next year, so if you want to see them for yourself, why not pop along?

There are lots of Brontë possessions on display. I was particularly moved by Charlotte's little glasses, and the tiny shoes she wore. 

You can also see the extraordinary little books they produced as children. How they ever made and wrote in such tiny things baffles me. There are also some chilling and sad things on display, such as Anne's blood-stained handkerchief, and Charlotte's grief-filled letters after the death of Emily.

On the walls, there are quotations from various Brontë books. Reading them gave me goosebumps. I particularly loved the ones from Jane Eyre, of course, because I was still writing Resisting Mr Rochester at the time, and they resonated with me.  My favourite was the one in the picture. 

Yes, it made me cry! DH amazed me by taking the time to read the notices, and studying the exhibits. The magic of the Brontës lured even him.

If you would like to know more about the Brontë Parsonage, visit their website at www.bronte.org.uk. It's well worth a visit, as is the pretty town of Haworth, which looks far more pleasant these days than it did in the Brontës' time! If you still need convincing, I can tell you that, when we got home, I watched To Walk Invisible for the fourth time, and DH was interested enough to sit and watch it with me (he hadn't wanted to before). He remarked on the programme's excellent recreation of the house, commented on the sad decline of Branwell, and had a big smile on his face when Charlotte visited her publisher and was greeted with such excitement and delight. Very impressive!

I loved my excursion into the world of the Brontës, and I loved immersing myself in the creation of my very own Mr Rochester. While writing my own story and inventing my own characters, I did draw on my favourite work of literature in some ways, hopefully paying my own small tribute to Charlotte's masterpiece.

I hope you enjoy Resisting Mr Rochester. I know I enjoyed writing it, and I'm missing my hero already. I'm in the process of creating another lovely hero, but Mr Rochester is a hard act to follow!

You can buy Resisting Mr Rochester at hyperurl.co/resistingmrrochester

Find out more about me and my books by visiting my website:  www.sharonboothwriter.com