Guest Post – Magic and “the old ways” of the West Country in Deep Water by Lu Hersey


The 1st July 2015 marked the release day of this awesome book, Deep Water, by the fabulous Lu Hersey!  I have heard nothing but praise for this wonderful book I am so excited to read it very soon!

Thank you to the lovely Amy at Usborne for sending me a copy of Deep Water and to Lu for organising it!

Today I have a brilliant guest post from the lady herself, Lu Hersey, talking about magic and “the old ways” of the West Country in Deep Water.  It is a truly fascinating guest post and I’m so so happy I get to share this with everyone.

But first….a little about the book….

33 Deep Water

Winner of the 2013 Mslexia Children’s Novel Writing Award, Deep Water is a mesmerizing mystery set in a beautiful, remote Cornish village.

When her mum vanishes, Danni moves to a tiny Cornish fishing village with Dad – where the locals treat her like a monster. As the village’s dark, disturbing past bubbles to the surface, Danni discovers that she’s not who – or what – she thought she was. And the only way to save her family from a bitter

Check out the fab book trailer!

Without further ado I will pass you over to Lu…..who has been quietly munching on the foam shrimps left over from the book launch!  🙂

Magic and “the old ways” of the West Country in Deep Water

I’ve always been fascinated by magic, and it’s something I try to weave into my writing. Not just the crystals, wands and faerie dust type stuff you can buy in New Age shops  – I’m talking about the elemental magic that people believed in for generations, the magic of conjuring wind and weather, spells and remedies for protection and healing (or not!) and the kind of shapeshifting magic of folklore and legend. And yes, I know most people dismiss all that type of thing in the 21st century – but I like to allow for the possibility.

 In Deep Water I wanted to make a contrast between the New Age type magic and the traditional magic of folklore. So when her mum disappears, my main character Danni has to go and live with her dad, who owns a New Age shop. Although I mildly poke fun at this kind of magic in the book, it doesn’t mean I don’t like New Age shops…in fact I really love hanging out in places like Tintagel in Cornwall (Cararth in Deep Water is based on Tintagel), where there are so many shops like Danni’s dad’s, it’s easier to buy a shaman rattle than a cheese sandwich!

 But on balance, I’m more interested in the folklore and traditional magic. Some of the weirder, darker magic of Deep Water was inspired by visits to the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle (the village of Ancrows in the novel is based on Boscastle).  The museum is where I learnt about poppets, very dark Cornish magic that works along similar lines to voodoo dolls.

voodoo doll

In the book, Elliot, the boy who works in Dad’s shop, comes from a family of poppet makers – I wanted to give him a bit of an edge so he wasn’t just some perfect, good looking boy that Danni falls for. If ever I write a sequel to Deep Water, it’s something I’d like to bring out much more…

 Danni is also given a weather charm in the story, by a man in a graveyard. I got the idea for this from the sign outside the Museum of Witchcraft.

boscastle witches

Apparently it was once common for ‘wind sellers’ to make and sell weather charms for fishermen going out in their boats from Cornish harbours.

 Although there aren’t any examples of wind charms in the museum, I read quite a few books on northern European magic as part of my background research, and came to the conclusion that the charms were probably bits of knotted rope or string. In Deep Water, the charm is made of knotted sailcloth – mainly because I thought it would be a bit easier for Danni to undo the knots when her hands were wet!

 There are so many more dark, weird and sometimes plain bizarre ideas I picked up researching Cornish myth and legends – I’m sure I’ll find a home for them soon…meanwhile, if anyone has any Cornish myth stories they’d like to share, please get in touch!

 Deep Water by Lu Hersey, published by Usborne, is out now.

Read the first chapter online at

Eeeeeekkkk doesn’t this book sound AMAZING!  I can’t wait to delve into it!

You can buy this book here or pop my your local bookshop and pick up a copy 🙂

You can also add it on Goodreads here

33 Deep Water

About Lu Hersey


 Lu Hersey worked as an advertising copywriter until she escaped to become a librarian and study for an MA in writing for young people at Bath Spa University. She shares her house with a surfeit of young adults who won’t leave home and keep calling her “Mum” – although, surprisingly, she finds their dialogue, strangely disturbing habits and erratic sleeping patterns a constant source of inspiration. She lives in Bristol, but her heart is in Cornwall. Deep Water is her first novel.

You can follow Lu on twitter using @LuWrites

You can follow the rest of the blog tour below.

Check out a fab post about The People Of The Sea over on @yayeahyeah here


Have you read Deep Water?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued?  Do you know any Cornish myth stories?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment by using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!



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I am often known to be a bit clumsy and a little loopy! Book loving (obsessed), theatre loving, slasher film loving csi geek! Winner of UKYABA Champion Newcomer 2015 and nominated for Champion of Social Media 2016 and Blogger Of The Year 2016! © 2014 - 2021 Michelle Toy All Rights Reserved

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5 Responses

  1. Maria Farrer says:

    Currently about half way through the wonderful Deep Water and fascinated to read more background on the book from Lu. `i have already been woven into the magic and mystery of the story and, really, it is so annoying to have to work when all I want to do is carry on reading! Thanks Lu and Chelle.

    • Chelley Toy says:

      Awwwww thanks for stopping by…’s lovely to hear your enjoying the book….I have found Lu’s guest posts on her blog tour so facinating and it’s making be more excited for when I pick it up and jump in xx

  2. Ursula says:

    What an interesting book title.. I hope I get to read this book at my local library! 🙂


  1. July 7, 2015

    […] The fabulous ‘best newcomer’ #UKYA book blogger Chelle (aka Michelle Toy) at Tales of Yesterday invited me to write a guest post about the magic and ‘old ways’ in my book, Deep Water. So kind of her – and a great opportunity for me to explain some background stuff about the story too! Anyway, here’s a link to the post:… […]