Author Guest Post | Jorie shares her bookishly geeky personality whilst celebrating the Bard, MacBeth and giving a hearty glow of light on an after canon author (James Hartley) whose re-inventing how to read #Shakespeare!

Posted Thursday, 22 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo my dear hearted Classical Shakespearean bookish mates!

(yes, this is a s/o to my lovely #theclassicsclub geeks!)

Says the girl whose all but suffered an EPIC FAIL for her first journey into said Classics Club whilst still attempting to right the stars on her fate of being seriously the most under-read of all clubbers in the Classical stacks! I appear, on the surface of things – wickedly in LOVE with Classical Lit but in the bare bones of trying to *read!* Classical stories – I seem to have opted for the after canons & re-tellings moreso than the original canons – naughty, Jorie! Except, I will soon be making enroads towards fixing this as I have a happy *surprise!* to share with my dear hearted readers of Jorie Loves A Story.. you’ll have to keep a keen eye for my latest #BookishNotBookish post,… that’s all I can disclose at this time!

When it comes to the Bard, I fell hard for his style of Literature as a frustrated freshman (in h.s. you guys, let’s just get that out of the way!) – it was refreshingly brilliant. I was seeking harder lit at the time, having graduated out of my childhood authors & shifting forward straight into a swirling pot of stories from contemporaries such as Clancy (Jack Ryan – OM sweet ghouls, right?); Crichton (the bloke who left hardly a hair on me head from the terror of his thrillers! yet, inspired my LOVE for Science & all things Ian Malcolm! Let’s face it – between the Genetic codes & Chaos Theory I was swooning!) and Grisham (who crushed my soul every single time!) – I was ready for a cosmic shift in my literary choices.

Similar to my lifelong appreciation on behalf of *Jane Austen!* prior to reading her stories – I had a fever of excitement over William Shakespeare. Let’s face – the *language!* and mannerisms of his choices in words & wordplay is enough to convince my younger self his stories would one day touch my heart with fierce admiration. I wasn’t wrong either – except it wasn’t the traditional love affair for Romeo which swooned my heart – instead it was the politico intrigue inside Julius Caesar & the dramatic undertone of Macbeth.

Mind you, I *devoured!* Caesar’s story & I helped the seniors ace their final exams for the latter – without reading the whole play, I only had a single layout (two pages) of the text in which I examined the context & eloquently explained it. I just tapped into the soul of Macbeth – ever since then, I’ve kept the play at an arm’s length. Mostly as whenever you feel so deeply connected to a story or a character – do you dare re-visit it?! I’ve had mixed feelings about this as I’ve previously re-examined stories from the past,..

I leapt into this blog tour before I fully examined the construction of the series Mr Hartley was building because I was wicked impressed by the components he was pulling together – so much so, this was my first reaction after finding out about the tour itself:

I pray I’m in time to join this blog tour — two words: Shakespeare & Macbeth overtures are right up my alley plus this is meant to be an introduction to the Bard for younger readers?! Ooh, my yes! It mentioned there are paperbacks to review on this tour, does that extend to the States?! If so, I’d love to join for a *review!* and a guest feature – I just finished reading “The Seven Sisters” – I sat down at six thirty last night and it’s now nearly 9am…

I love how he’s bringing each play to life through a boarding school setting,…

Shortly hereafter, my paths crossed with Mr Hartley in the twitterverse, however, that particular story will be saved for a latter date! As this post is meant to give him the chance to explain what inspired him to re-direct his own museful creativity into the collective works of the Bard we all know, trust & love as much as readers have for half a millennia. I simply wanted to give a bit of a back-story into how I came to *love!* the Bard myself and why this particular tour held such a strong appeal for becoming a part of as a book blogger.

Find a cosy comfortable place to alight, sip your favourite cuppa tea or java & ENJOY this essay – about a writer who found inspiration within the text & symbolism of MACBETTH.

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Author Guest Post | Jorie shares her bookishly geeky personality whilst celebrating the Bard, MacBeth and giving a hearty glow of light on an after canon author (James Hartley) whose re-inventing how to read #Shakespeare!The Invisible Hand
Subtitle: Shakespeare's Moon : Act 1
by James Hartley

The Invisible Hand is about a boy, Sam, who has just started life at a boarding school and finds himself able to travel back in time to medieval Scotland. There he meets a girl, Leana, who can travel to the future, and the two of them become wrapped up in events in Macbeth, the Shakespeare play, and in the daily life of the school.

The book is the first part of a series called Shakespeare´s Moon. Each book is set in the same boarding school but focuses on a different Shakespeare play.

Genres: After Canons, Children's Literature, Classical Literature, Young Adult Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781785354984

Also by this author: The Invisible Hand

on 27th February, 2017

Published By: Lodestone Books (@JHPChildren)

an imprint of John Hunt Publishing (@JHPFiction)

The series thus far along :

Hartley’s Shakespearean 5 act Quintet (after canon) series ‘Shakespeare’s Moon’

Heart of Winter | prequel to ‘The Invisible Hand’ (Synopsis) → previously an audiobook

The Invisible Hand | inspired by ‘MacBeth’

PlayFight | a short story within the series | Read via Wattpad

Cold Fire | inspired by ‘Romeo & Juliet’ (Synopsis) → #PubDay is 31.Aug.18

Converse via: #Shakespeare #Macbeth & #theclassicsclub

Find out why Mr Hartley claims to have been ‘betwitched’

by the muse behind ‘An Invisible Hand’ + ‘Heart of Winter’.

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Topic I Proposed to Mr Hartley:

How did you develop your hauntingly ethereal Gothic style of re-interpreting Shakespearean plays? As your stories hone in on the elemental and atmospheric aspects of psychological suspense – what were your inspirations for writing these kinds of after canon sequels on behalf of the Bard? Likewise, is there one of his stories which stands out as being your ultimate favourite?

The style of The Invisible Hand is based on the world of Macbeth which is conjured up in my mind when I read or think about the play. I´ve always loved rainy days, monsoons, scorching deserts, empty, wide oceans and still, white snowy mountains. I love atmosphere and a sense of place and there aren´t many more evocative places to imagine than the highlands of medieval Scotland, I think.

Shakespeare himself does a good job of indicating how he sees the atmosphere of the play in the text, opening with the witches on the heath and bedraggled soldiers stumbling back from war. The ideas of prophecies and black magic are introduced yet we are not asked to believe them but to only think about their effect on the characters in the play. Of course, we are also thinking: what would we do if we were told these things? If power and glory was but one step away, what would I do to achieve it?

Following on from this, there seemed only one way to write a book about Macbeth for younger readers, and that was to incorporate these elements into a modern story. I was not as interested in trying to retell the story of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as in recreating the elements of the play which I loved: the creepiness and the idea of prophecies and magic; the Gothic, cold, damp, darkness of a world with no electricity, rule of law, medical care or running water.

The whole point of The Invisible Hand, and all the Shakespeare´s Moon books and stories, is not to retell the plays but to take readers into the world of the stories, to see these plays and stories from the inside. In The Invisible Hand, Sam and Leana find themselves having to explore cemeteries and graves and prophecies and magic as well as the world of medieval Scotland because I wanted the reader to have these sensations and feelings and experiences, which mirror those of the play.

I think Macbeth is one of the neatest stories in Shakespeare and it attracted me because it was the first play I was taught – at the same age Sam is learning it in The Invisible Hand. Sam´s experience, of going to a boarding school and being slightly shocked and confused about everything, is my experience and the boarding school itself is based on the school I went to as a fourteen-year-old. The school still exists and most of the places described in the book are exactly where they are said to be – the Eleusinian Room, the Main Building and even the graveyard and church in the village.

Macbeth is a great story to imagine. It´s world exists in all our imaginations. The world of Macbeth is the dark, twilight world where the things that scare us – including ourselves – come in with the night.

It´s where our ambition lives, it´s ourselves at night, or in our darkest moments, imagining what it would be like to be famous or powerful or popular. It´s our hatred of friends, family or others. It´s that time of night when you have all the answers and all the clever retorts. That darkness is inside all of us and it´s not nice to be around – but it is there, always, and Macbeth is about what happens when it starts to dominate and win.

The world of Macbeth, I think, is a look at our soul at night.

And it´s kind of thrilling.

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I couldn’t agree with you more – as atmospheric elemental components are what I personally feel attracted to myself whenever I am seeking a particularly compelling story to read set in the Gothic style or a certain sub-niche of Historical Fiction. Classical re-tellings, psychological suspense, Cosy Horror or a few other areas where writers can bend genre to their own will of imagination whilst evoking such a strong presence of how atmospheric under-threads of narrative tone can not only set a reader straight into the story’s setting itself but it can become evocative of the textural edges of how the writer envisioned his or her story to be read and seen.

Your response to my topic reminded me of part of our convo wherein I asked about the nature of your writing style and how you approached telling this story – wherein I shared the following:

Where it’s elementally psychological and suspenseful – the Hitcockian effect as I like to call it. I truly love Southern Gothic, Traditional Gothic and anything spookified along the ‘gothic’ genre – plus who doesn’t like the allure of castles + tunnels + things like that!? One of my favourite bits of Historical Gothic stories are exploring ruins, castles and the like! I even love time slip, time shift and time travel stories therein! Or the ones which parlay between time shift and ghost story w/in the historical past set at a castle w/ full-on Suspense like you’ve described!

I am thankful you re-broached this through your response for the tour, as I found this to be one of the most captivating reasons to be reading your stories! Similarly, I have a personal attachment to the Highlands of Scotland myself (being a descendant of Highlanders) – even though, at best the most I know of the Highlands themselves are a few scant glimpses of them through Historical Romance novels or in the beautifully lovely BBC series Monarch of the Glen which gutted me emotionally but blessedly did not crush my soul beyond repair as BallyKissAngel a series I’ve yet to finish as a result.

Yes, I concur – one of the joys of reading Shakespeare is seeking the ‘questions’ he’s asking of us as we read. If we’re intuitive readers we’ll notice how he’s left a lot of doors open for interpreting his motives whilst he also paints strong clues towards where his own mind and heart were directing his own literary muse to tread. The joy for me (of course) is sorting it all out – whilst being caught up inside the ‘ways in which’ he chose to write his stories. He had a unique grasp of how a story could be constructed but it’s how he layered it all – how he fused the craft from what had come before and re-shaped it to be seen through the execution of plays and sonnets.

I think this is actually the beauty of what you’ve set out to achieve – an after canon focus on the stories themselves but without a direct adaptation of the ‘story’ as it once was envisioned but rather, to take those elements out of context and re-alight them in a new thread of enlightenment for younger readers who are drawn towards those elements by Shakespeare but perhaps, would rather have a taste of them in a different construction of story altogether. It is also a lovely bridge for the hesitations younger readers might feel in attempting to dig directly in Shakespeare. I know not all readers find challenges in literature as enjoyable as I once did myself or rather, as I continue to find as can we ever really say we’re done challenging our literary inclinations? I think not!

I *love!* how this (series) has become slightly autobiographical and remained elusively fictional – as you’ve found a wicked fusion between the truth from Shakespeare’s legacy and your own living histories – merging them into a new thread of intrigue and a creative lens into how palpable these stories are to new generations.

Isn’t that the truth? About having cleverly spun responses to our curious minds & inquisitive speculations? There is humble truths to what your revealling here and of what I believe is intended to be found in your stories. Thank you for taking us into your writerly process whilst answering my enquiry in such a wonderfully personable way! I look forward to sharing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of The Invisible Hand and Heart of Winter.

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About James Hartley

James Hartley

James was born on the Wirral, England, in 1973 on a rainy Thursday. He shares his birthday with Bono, Sid Vicious and two even nastier pieces of work, John Wilkes Booth and Mark David Chapman.

His mother was a hairdresser with her own business and his father worked in a local refinery which pours filth into the sky over the Mersey to this day. They married young and James was their first child. He has two younger brothers and a still-expanding family in the area. As an Everton fan he suffered years of Liverpool success throughout the seventies and was thrilled when his father took a job in Singapore and the family moved lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Asia.

He spent five fine years growing up in the city state before returning to the rain, storms, comprehensive schools and desolate beauty of the Scottish east coast. Later years took he and his family to baking hot Muscat, in Oman, and a Syria that has since been bombed off the surface of the planet.

James studied journalism in London and later travelled through Ireland, France, Germany and India generally having a good time, before finally settling in Madrid, Spain, where he now lives with his wife and two children.

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This author interview is courtesy of: Rachel’s Random Resources

The Invisible Hand blog tour via Rachel's Random ResourcesFun Stuff for Your Blog via

Originally I thought I had selected two tour stops for this lovely blog tour – giving equal focus to both this lovely Guest Post & my review of The Invisible Hand. However, due to severe Spring storms, health issues & connectivity issues – I realised too late I was only marked down for one day on the tour. Ergo, I had to make a late minute choice to pull my review and hold it til the last day – the 25th, which is this upcoming weekend – on Sunday. I simply need more time to finish reading the story itself whilst composing my thoughts on behalf of everything it evokes out of my readerly experience as I read it. I look forward to visiting the tour route after my review goes LIVE. Until then, I apologise for the short delay and extension – I hope you’ll return & revisit me.

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Rachel & I first crossed paths whilst celebrating our mutual love of ChocLitUK novels – this blog tour marks the first I’ve been able to host for her after discovering recently she has a blog touring company! You’ve might have seen her badge in my sidebar!? I am looking forward to bringing Guest Author Features, Book Spotlights w/ Notes & Reviews to Jorie Loves A Story hosted by Rachel! It’s quite lovely when someone you know in the twitterverse has started their own company & has followed their passion for helping others. I look forward to working with Rachel more often starting in 2018!
You will next see me hosting her blog tours on the following dates:
  • the 11th of April, 2018 : Interview with the writer of She’s All Bad (#superherofiction)
  • the 17th of April, 2018 : Video Interview with the writer of The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay
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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Invisible Hand”, book synopsis, author biography & photograph of James Hartley and the tour badge were all provided by Rachel Random Resources and used with permission. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Writerly Topics banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

I’m a social reader | I tweet my reading life

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Thursday, 22 March, 2018 by jorielov in After the Canon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Children's Literature, Classical Literature, England, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Literature for Boys, Rachel's Random Resources, Re-Told Tales, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, The Writers Life, Writing Style & Voice

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