Interview with… Marian Womack | Blog Tour

Thank you to Titan Books for sending me a gorgeous copy of this book along with a pin and for asking me to be on the blog tour. For this blog tour I decided to do a Q&A with Marian Womack, so thank you to Marian for answering them, proceed below to find out her answers and more information on The Golden Key.

What was your most difficult thing about writing this book?

I am not great at planning, and prefer if the story leads me. That resulted in very chaotic early drafts! 

What was your inspiration to write this book?

Readings, trips to East Anglia, novels about female detectives in Victorian England … The book has been a very long time in the making, and that is partly because I was trying to fit my whole imaginary, all my interests, into a single text. My inspiration is very varied. 

Who was your favourite character from the book?

Helena, without a doubt. I have wanted for some time to write a series of novels with a female investigator, and have had her in my head for many years now, but she only started to come into sharper focus round about 2016, when the position of foreigners in the UK started to be much more in the news. 

Were there any books that inspired you to write The Golden Key?

The novella by George MacDonald with the same name, for sure. There are also a few novels featuring female detectives published on the 19th century that were a revelation. The British Library has published some of those.

If a film were made of your book, who would you cast in the leading roles?

Helena Walton-Cisneros = Eva Green. 

Eliza Waltraud = Florence Pugh. 

Samuel Moncrieff = Tom Hardy. 

Madame Florence = Emily Blunt. 

Miss Collins = Lydia West. 

Which character was most challenging to create? Why?

Sam. I guess I feel more comfortable writing female characters; so it was a bit of a challenge for me. I wanted to have a character who experiences this moment of discovery, when he realises that Helena is a private investigator. It had to be a man, as that afforded me the chance to challenge his assumptions about what a woman could or could not do.

Do you have a favourite scene that you wrote for the book?

I am really proud of the séance scene in the early chapters. I think it sets the tone perfectly, and shows the uncanny elements that the book will bring up later on. 

What was your writing process like?

In some ways this is my least favourite question, because, as I said earlier, I prefer it if the story leads me, and to dignify that kind of wandering and meandering and musing with the name of process seems a little pretentious. But maybe I can put it like this, that I write by experimenting, and I need, especially in the early stages of a piece, to have the time and freedom and mental space to make mistakes, get confused, confuse my readers, and then find the one single clear thread that will come out of this pile of experimental drafts and lead to the unified and hopefully coherent final work. 

Thanks again, to Marian for answering my questions, to find out more about the book you can find the blurb below ♥

T H E    G O L D E N     K E Y

by Marian Womack

An extraordinary, page-turning Gothic mystery set in the wilds of the Norfolk Fens from the BSFA-shortlisted author.

London, 1901. After the death of Queen Victoria the city heaves with the uncanny and the eerie. Séances are held and the dead are called upon from darker realms.

Samuel Moncrieff, recovering from a recent tragedy of his own, meets Helena Walton-Cisneros, one of London’s most reputed mediums. But Helena is not what she seems and she’s enlisted by the elusive Lady Matthews to solve a twenty-year-old mystery: the disappearance of her three stepdaughters who vanished without a trace on the Norfolk Fens.

But the Fens are a liminal land, where folk tales and dark magic still linger. With locals that speak of devilmen and catatonic children found on the Broads, Helena finds the answer to the mystery leads back to where it started: Samuel Moncrieff.

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