GUEST POST: Megan Tayte

The Ceruleans: Fusing fact and fiction

At the heart of the Ceruleans story is a seventeen-year-old girl, Scarlett, who comes to an isolated Devonshire cove to seek answers after her sister’s suicide. Along the way she encounters uncovers a lot of unexpected truths – about herself, about her family, about the paranormal ­­– and she falls in love: darkly, deeply, beautifully.

So, you may be wondering, how much of me, the writer, is in the character Scarlett? How much of her story is my own story? Did I summer alone in an isolated cove in Devon when I was a teenager? Did I lose someone, and have first-hand experience of the grief and confusion that haunt Scarlett? Did I fall in love with a guy like Luke Cavendish?

It’s the question many readers have about an author’s books, but are usually too polite to ask: ‘How much of the fiction is fact?’

Here’s a glimpse of the common ground that my character Scarlett and I share:

  • We could sit on a beach and watch the ocean for hours.
  • We’re at home in a peaceful little cottage (but not so much in a banging, packed nightclub).
  • We’re hugely independent and fiercely loyal.
  • We’re more geek than chic.
  • We’re prone to making an arse of ourselves. Spectacularly.
  • We’re daunted by such contraptions as hair straighteners and eyelash curlers.
  • We’re a danger to ourselves – and others – in the kitchen.
  • We believe that there are ‘more things on heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy’.

And here are some ways in which we differ:

  • She surfs; I watch from the beach.
  • She swims; I sink.
  • She drinks terrible instant coffee; I’m addicted to my coffee machine.
  • She’s fairly introverted; I’m… well, not exactly quiet.
  • She’s very good at telling lies; my poker face is appalling.
  • She’s so not into the paranormal genre; I’ve been there, done that, got the now-ancient ‘Team Edward’ t-shirt.
  • She’s got the power to heal; I, sadly, do not…

And how much of Scarlett’s story is my own story? Well, I did summer alone in my late teens – but in a city, not at the seaside – and I know far too well the grief that haunts Scarlett. As for falling in love with a guy like Luke Cavendish… yes, I did. And to borrow from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre: ‘Reader, I married him.’ Another inspiration for The Ceruleans? That would be telling…

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