Guest Post – Inspiration for Darkmere & Deleted Scene by Helen Maslin



Today, 6th August 2015, marks the release date of the brilliant gothic romance with a castle, a ghost and a curse Darkmere by lovely debut author Helen Maslin published by Chicken House!

Happy Book Birthday Helen!

Some of you may already know that I have read and loved Darkmere (you can find my review here) and to celebrate the official release day the lovely people at Chicken House have given me a copy of the finished book for a celebratory giveaway!

And that’s not all!

*excited face*

I also have a deleted prologue scene from Darkmere with a fab introduction from Helen!  Even if you haven’t read the book yet I feel this will get you even more excited to read it and if you have I’m sure you will love this as much as I did!

I’m also thrilled to share some pictures given to me by Helen of the real life castle that inspired Darkmere!

*does a little dance*

*see ghostly apparition in the corner of my eye*

*Quickly passes blog onto Helen!*


A castle. A curse. One dangerous holiday … Kate and her friends are spending the summer at Darkmere Castle in Devon which she thinks will be a perfect opportunity for her to get together with Leo. But instead, she s drawn into the dark story of an nineteenth-century girl who haunts the tunnels and towers of the house … and whose curse now hangs over them all. 

Darkmere Inspiration and Deleted Scene


(Watermouth Castle which inspired Darkmere)


(A cliff-top look-out building)








(Some gateposts hidden in a nearby wood )




All of the above pictures / locations feature in the story of Darkmere.

When I started Darkmere, the first page I wrote was this prologue and I’m still quite fond of it. My agent offered to represent me because she liked it and my publishers said the same. Which is good news for anyone who is proud of their own prologue, because generally we’re told that all agents and publishers HATE them. Eventually my editor came up with an idea for a more ambiguous prologue – one which could be narrated by either of two main characters from my book. So this one wasn’t used. I still like it, though…


His body was heavy.

Maybe the weight shouldn’t have surprised me so much, but it did. Surprise and dismay hit me as sharply as a punch.  I couldn’t do anything about it though, so I buried my hands deeper under his armpits, repositioned my legs wider apart – knees bent – at each side of his shoulders, braced every muscle and heaved.

It really hurt! The small of my back and both wrists screamed with pain and I’d barely moved him.

The expression ‘dead-weight’ came into my head uninvited. I gave one horrified shudder then clamped my lips together and breathed in through my nose. I was not going to break down. It wouldn’t do any good, so I wasn’t going to do it.

I lifted him again. His head fell back awkwardly and his limp arms lolled round my grip. I could feel his weight working against me. By the time I’d managed to raise his chest, his weight had slumped lower to his abdomen which remained on the ground. I swore at him then, hating him for his unconscious lack of co-operation.

It was 2015. I was seventeen years old and liked to think I was a modern woman. The Suffragettes had stopped marching a long time ago. I earned my own money and I paid my own way. And until tonight, I’d genuinely believed that men and women were equal.

            But that was because I’d never tried dragging a man’s body anywhere before.

2 One of the reasons I like this prologue so much is because it reminds me of the way I made my husband lie on the floor so I could try to drag him around. Because accurate descriptions are important! (I couldn’t move him at all – and he laughed at me far more than a lifeless body ought to have done.)


 About Helen Maslin


Helen Maslin lives in Cheltenham with her husband and two young sons. She has studied English, history and art history, which remain her chief interests. She also runs an art club at her children’s primary school.

Helen’s art club is fun but always very messy. Her favourite things are brightly-coloured hair, Peter Lorre’s voice, the smell of new books, Roy Lichtenstein’s art, niceness and cake.  Darkmere is her debut novel.

Follow Helen on Twitter – @HelenMaslin

Also check out Helen’s fab blog here!

A huge thank you to Helen for sharing the pictures and deleted prologue with me…..I loved how the pictures represent places in the book and how the prologue made me want to re-read Darkmere asap!

Find out more about Darkmere in my review here

You can buy Darkmere by Helen Maslin here

Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here

Read a fab extract from Darkmere over on the Chicken House website here

Or an exclusive extract on Tales here

I also love this top 5 castles post on Chicken House that includes Darkmere – here !

Check out a spotlight piece I did for another book where Helen tells me her bright place – here

Also Helen wrote the most beautiful guest post this week for @Serendipty_Vivhere

Giveaway Time!

The lovely people at Chicken House have kindly given me one copy of Darkmere to giveaway to celebrate publication day!

So exciting!

UK & IRE only

Giveaway ends 13/08/2015!

Do check the Terms and Conditions before entering!

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you read Darkmere?  What did you think?  Has this review intrigued you enough into buying a copy?  Do you have any fab ghost stories or visited any haunted castles?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading….*hears a creak!*



Written by

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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19 Responses

  1. Ellie Robinson says:

    I love that prologue, its kind of dark and i just want to know what is going on?! I read the extract on the chicken house website and it drew me in straight away so I can’t wait to read it!

    • Chelley Toy says:

      The real prolouge is also AMAZING and INTRGUING! It’s really a fab read…I think I gushed a lot in my review. Thanks for stopping by and entering 🙂 x

  2. K.M.Lockwood says:

    I loved the name of the book right from the first time I read it – and now I am even more intrigued!

  3. Emilie says:

    I am so excited to read this novel. I love a creepy read!

  4. Daniel S says:

    Okay, I think I have a strong need to pick this book up. Your review convinced me easily!

  5. kayleigh Bates says:

    Loved the prlogue it’s done its job and got me wanting more x

  6. Castles and curses, sounds just my cup of tea!

  7. Laura Nice says:

    This sounds great and a brilliant name!

  8. Tasleema says:

    Haven’t read this but heard such great things. The story sounds so spooky! Excited to give it a read!

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