Please help me make fellow author S. M. Spencer feel at home at this stop on her blog tour! The best way to do that is liking, commenting, and sharing her post as well as writing sincere REVIEWS for her books! 😀
I for one loved her post about the inspiration for the Absent Shadows trilogy. After all, I’m a HUGE fan of paranormal romance! So I decided to make a small contribution to her awesome post by means of illustrating it.
Queen Victoria Markets
aka Old Melbourne Cemetery
Hello, and thanks for stopping by on my blog tour! I would like to thank today’s host for having me here, and also 4Wills Publishing for organizing this tour for me. To see all the stops on the tour, check out their website:
The YA paranormal romance trilogy Absent Shadows takes place (predominantly) in Melbourne, Australia. The story is completely fictional; however it is set in real locations. Most of the story takes place in what are some of the oldest parts of Melbourne, namely the Queen Victoria Market and the Flagstaff Gardens.
I’d like to share with you a bit of the history of this area so you will understand what inspired me to come up with a story about ghosts and vampires in this area.
A few years ago, I was working around the corner from Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market, up near the Flagstaff Gardens. One day while walking around at lunchtime, I started sensing that the area was the perfect setting for a story about ghosts and vampires. There had been a strong resurgence in the popularity of vampires and ghosts, and I’d always been keenly interested in both. In fact, I’d done a late night ghost tour through the area just a few years earlier. It was on this ghost tour that I first learned the history of the cemetery under the market’s carpark.
When I set out to write the story, I decided to do a bit of research on the area. Of course I headed straight to Google and WIKIPEDIA. I read numerous accounts of the market and the gardens, and although not everything I read appeared to be consistent, the general gist of it was that the area we now call the Flagstaff Gardens was originally referred to as Burial Hill. In the early 1800’s, not long after the colony of Melbourne was established, this became the site of Melbourne’s first burials.
A few years later a proper cemetery was built, the Melbourne Cemetery, in the area that is now the Queen Victoria Market. This cemetery was used from 1837 until the early 1850’s but was felt to be too small for the growing population. As such, in the early 1850’s, what is now referred to as the Melbourne General Cemetery was built.
In the early 1900’s there were plans to expand the Queen Victoria Market, so a number of bodies (approximately 900) were exhumed from the Old Melbourne Cemetery and relocated to other cemeteries. Poor records, deterioration of headstones, and numerous other factors prevented the remaining bodies from being exhumed however.
Although there is no doubt that a large number of bodies still remain under the market carpark, the exact number seems somewhat debatable. Some accounts suggested that there were originally over 10,000 bodies in the Old Melbourne Cemetery, so with only approximately 900 having been relocated there would still be in excess of 9,000 remaining. However, another report suggests that due to a fire in 1864 that destroyed early records, the 10,000 bodies cannot be verified.
Regardless of the exact number, there is no argument that not all the bodies were exhumed, and when you walk across the carpark, you are walking over the top of some thousands of bodies that reside as little as six feet below.
Now, with the Melbourne City Council in the midst of massive redevelopment plans for the area, the controversy lives on.
You can read all about the history by simply Googling “Old Melbourne Cemetery”. It makes for some very interesting reading, indeed.
The Absent Shadows Trilogy is not in any sense of the words an historical account of the area. The story is a novel, set in an interesting location. Therefore, this background is supplied purely to provide a bit of insight into the inspiration for the writing of the story.
To find out more about the Absent Shadows Trilogy, and obtain free samples of each of the books, visit Amazon:
You can also follow SM Spencer on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/SMSpencer.writer for advice about upcoming promotions as well as updates on works in progress.
S M Spencer
Absent Shadows Trilogy: Destiny, Sacrifice & Deception
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
The Absent Shadows Trilogy is the story of nineteen year-old Lili McIntyre who decides to trade her California summer for a mid-winter visit to Australia in hope of finding inspiration and direction in the country where her father was born.
When she arrives in Melbourne, the first thing Lili finds is the last thing she’s looking for—a brooding man who makes her heart race every time she sees him. Against her better judgement, Lili finds herself drawn into a relationship that tests her very beliefs about life, reality and fantasy.
Follow Lili’s journey across Australia as she searches for her destiny, faces some of the hardest decisions of her life, makes incredible sacrifices, and encounters deception in places where it is least expected.
Sometimes, when something bad happens, time seems to slow to a crawl.
Like that time I was running to visit my friend who lived down the street. I was only about ten at the time, but it seemed like it was yesterday. I remember exactly how it felt as I ran down that street toward her house. And how, when I was only part way there, I stepped on an acorn and my foot rolled out from under me. As I fell, the pavement got closer and closer to my face—in horrible slow-motion. I hit the ground with my hands stretched out in front of me, scraping the skin off both palms. They barely bled but man they hurt like crazy.
Yes, I could replay that memory like a slow-motion movie in my head even now—years later.
But this … well, this wasn’t like that.
What happened next was like a series of still photos. Tom flew out of the bedroom in a blur, but stopped just long enough for the image of his face to be burnt into my mind. His eyes were no longer soft brown, but were instead a glowing red, and his normally tanned complexion was now pallid grey. But what really stood out was the blood that ran down from the corner of his mouth.
Then I heard Sam’s voice—loud and harsh. ‘Go!’
Tom was gone and I heard the door slam.
I closed my eyes for no more than a long blink—it couldn’t have been more than a second—but when I opened them, Sam was in the bedroom, bending over Claire. Was he doing something to her neck? She was so still.
I ran to the doorway but stopped short of going in. I couldn’t draw a breath to scream or talk. I just stood there, frozen.
About the Author:
S M Spencer was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.
As a young teenager she was introduced to the world of romantic suspense through the works of authors such as Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. These books stirred in her a passion that would last a lifetime: to become a writer.
Feeling the need to experience life before embarking on a writing career, Ms Spencer completed a business degree. Her career eventually landed her in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived ever since.
SM Spencer now writes from her home in a semi-rural part of Australia, where she lives with her husband, horses, cats and dogs.
“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”