I’m delighted to welcome Caroline Busher to the blog today with a fantastic guest post about her inspiration for her debut novel ‘The Ghosts of Magnificent Children.’ So without further ado take your seat and prepared to be entertained at ‘The Most Magnificent Show on Earth.’
The Most Magnificent Show on Earth
When I was a child a circus tent appeared in a field on the outskirts of town. Our otherwise grey world was infiltrated with colour as a lively cast of characters spilled onto the streets of our town and it was my fascination with this enchanting world that set the wheels in motion for my debut novel “The Ghosts of Magnificent Children”.
It all began when I was eight years old. For weeks the circus was all that people talked about and it was a welcome diversion to the monotony of life. The performers emerged in the town like ghosts resurrected from damp solitary graves. Putty coloured camels sauntered through winding country lanes, juxtaposed against tractors and diggers, which spluttered regurgitated diesel from smoky engines. Cows raised weary heads in disbelief at the mythical creatures. A shiver of excitement danced down my spine as we entered the tent. I moved closer to my mother as a demur lady in a sequined costume led us to our seats. Her hips swung like a pendulum and she shimmered insolently, her high heels punctuated the grass floor like bullets from a gun. People whispered in the darkness and the circus had begun.
A ringmaster entered the arena, his crimson coat tails trailed behind him, he was reminiscent of a matador in a bullfight, he twirled a pointy black moustache between bony fingers. He commanded attention and evoked silence in the auditorium.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls what you are about to see is the most spectacular show on earth. You will witness death defying acrobats, tigers from Africa and Camels from the Nile. If you are all sitting comfortably, let the show commence”.
Someone coughed, a child giggled and then there was silence.
A clown on a unicycle was the first in the ring, he juggled flame encrusted sticks through the air whilst balancing precariously on his steel construction. People gasped in amazement as the spectacle unfolded before their eyes. Two obligatory clowns somersaulted in front of us and a kaleidoscope of colours erupted in the air. A parody had begun, culminating in a series of comedic exultations. Laughter vented around the ring. I blinked my eyes and watched as a man walked into the ring. Beside him was a resplendent Lion, it oscillated its head and two black eyes that resembled lumps of coal caught fire in the flames of its golden mane.
As there we have it, the spell has been cast. The circus created a world so magnificent and utterly magical that I was powerless to its charms.
The Ghosts of Magnificent Children
The year is 1848. It is a time when magic and ghosts exist. Four Magnificent Children are captured by Badblood’s Circus.
Theo can look into your eyes and reveal your secret thoughts, which come out of his mouth like a swarm of bees.
Ginny has a bird called Blue living inside her. Her ribs are woven together to form a birdcage. Blue perches on a swing made from one of her ribs.
And the Thought-reading Twins, Archie and Millie Luxbridge, have an extraordinary ability to read each other’s minds. They become stars of the circus but are unaware that Badblood has a dark and secret plan.
One hundred years later the children’s ghosts appear on an island off the coast of Ireland where a boy called Rua befriends them. Rua discovers that a terrible fate awaits them and, in a desperate race against time, he struggles to learn how they may be saved.
The Ghosts of Magnificent Children is in bookshops now, or pick up your copy online here.
Caroline Busher graduated with a first Class Honours MA in Creative Writing (UCD) and is represented by Trace Literary Agency (USA). She is an award-winning author and was recently appointed the Reader in Residence with Wexford County Council Library Services. Caroline teaches creating writing courses to adults and children and is a curator and Vice Chair of Wexford Literary Festival. Her debut novel “The Ghosts of Magnificent Children” (Poolbeg Press) has been selected for a major project called “Battle Of The Book” by the Dublin Airport Authority and Fingal County Council Library Services.
You can find out more about Caroline on her website or follow her on Twitter @CarolineBusher