Blog Tour: The Location Inspiration Behind Star of Hope by @moiramcpartlin @FledglingPress @lovebooksgroup

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 This third and final exciting volume of The Sun Song Trilogy finds Sorlie and Ishbel working together in one last attempt to save Esperaneo. As The Prince's health deteriorates he hands over leadership of the Star of Hope's mission to Sorlie and Ishbel. But what is the Star of Hope? All they know is that it will free the native race from slavery. On mainland Esperaneo Major, Ishbel travels north through a hostile artic forest while Sorlie, Reinya and Dawdle head for the southern dry lands. On the way both parties battle extreme weather and betrayal, but it is only when the two missions meet that the frightening truth of their world is revealed. And one final betrayal decides the fate of the mission and their fight for freedom. The Sun Song trilogy explores life in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic Britain where society's norms have broken down and life has to be lived differently.  

Guest Post:

Star of Hope, Location, by Moira McPartlin 

Star of Hope is the last book in my Sun Song Trilogy. It was published at the end of February 2019 by Fledgling Press and like my other novels I launched the book on the unsuspecting public during a series of events.  While I was preparing for these events I began to examine the trilogy as a whole and when I looked at location something very strange occurred to me.

The Trilogy is set in a fictional superpower of Esperaneo (lesser Esperaneo and Esperaneo Major) in the year 2089. Lesser Esperaneo is former UK and Esperaneo Major is mainland Europe.
In Book #1 Ways of the Doomed, the location was a small island on the west coast of Scotland. With Wants of the Silent, book #2, I moved the characters out of that island into two or three locations mostly around the Cumbria coast. With Star of Hope I continued to move outwards and took my main characters, Sorlie and Ishbel, into Esperaneo Major.  
Star of Hope begins with both Sorlie and Ishbel being chosen to lead two separate strands of the Star of Hope mission.  Ishbel gathers a group of six men to land on a northern fjord. Ishbel soon finds herself alone in this Arctic wilderness and struggles through snow, flooded forests and wind lashed tundra to reach a friendly settlement. Although I have in the past visited all four Nordic countries I have not spent time in the hinterlands.  But I have spent many years climbing Scotland’s mountains, traipsing through boggy forests and walking thigh deep in fresh snow. These mountain expeditions gave me enough experience to imagine what the conditions would be like for Ishbel. One need only to stand on the Cairngorm Plateau in winter to experience something akin to Arctic conditions. I remember once arriving at the Coire Cas carpark just outside Aviemore to have my car door almost ripped off its hinge by the icy blasts that whipped across the hillside. I closed the door and drove home because walking anywhere, even to the café a few feet away from my car, would have been impossible.  Many times I have crawled to the summit of a hill, touched the cairn and crawled back to try and find some respite from the howling gusts. 

My landscape choices for Star of Hope were very deliberate to show the extremes of weather. For Sorlie’s mission I sent him south to a dry arid landscape, almost desert land in 2089. The inspiration for this came from a visit to France.

In 2016 I visited Provence where I found the Verdon Gorge, which would be prefect to have my characters travel through; towering cliffs and caves that gave me scope for further adventures for my characters. I also found The Lavender Plateau nearby; huge fields of lavender growing in dry sandy soil. Lavender is a theme that appears throughout the trilogy and while in Provence I was delighted to find that the climax of the trilogy would take place within the area of such an iconic flower and scent. This was a complete coincidence but a very happy one. The Provence I found was hot and dry and very like the landscape I had already imagine I wanted to recreate. Provence made writing the finale easier for me. 


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