Elsetime – Eve McDonnell, illustrated by Holly Ovenden

Today on the blog I am delighted to share with you, Eve McDonnell’s debut, ‘Elsetime.’ Inspired by the Great Flood of London, this original and captivating story tells the tale of Glory and Needle, whose lives become inextricably bound when they realise they share the same pet crow. Shards of a plaque warns of a great danger to Glory and many others. Can they find a way to come to terms with the seemingly impossible truth and change the future to save everyone. This is a compelling and fascinating story that completely had me hooked from the opening page. Cleverly written and wonderfully executed it is an absolute joy to read. The characterisation is superb, she has created the most intriguing individuals in Glory and Needle who are both dealing with immense difficulties and sadness in their lives. She conjures up the place of Inthington superbly with the most rich and vivid descriptions, that makes you feel like you’ve been transported there. I have to mention Holly Ovendon’s stunning cover and illustrations which capture the mysterious and dark elements of the story wonderfully. Without wishing to give anything away, the surprise twist in the story was just marvellous and I totally didn’t see it coming. A truly extraordinary debut that I absolutely loved, Eve is definitely one to watch out for!

To celebrate the release of, ‘Elsetime,’ I have a special guest post from Eve…

Needle Luckett’s Colour Wheel – Eve McDonnell

A few years ago, a young boy digging the muddy foreshore for treasures sprung into my mind. His name was Needle, and he wanted to tell me his story. To dip my toe in, I opened up a clean page and began to write – I could see him in my mind, clear as day, using the long nail on his little finger to hook something sparkling from the mud. As he pulled the treasure out of the gloopy mud, the mud did its best to hang on to it until it finally relented. It made a slurpy-popping-snappy sound and, try as I might, I found it hard to describe it. I decided I would simply spell the sound out – SCH-M-OCK! But then, just to be clear, the treasure-hunting boy in my head insisted that the sound was ‘purple’. Of course it was purple! Now that I knew it, it could never have been anything else!

I didn’t write any further that day, but I was very happy – I had the beginnings of Elsetime and I had learned something very special about my new character: Needle was able to hear sounds in colour! This is a thing called Synaesthesia – a fascinating condition where senses such as sight and sound are cross-wired, enabling Needle to see colour when he hears sound.

Brown clouds burst into Needle’s head when he hears horse-hoofs clopping, the clunk of a key in a lock brings ruby red, and when the river roars, Needle’s mind is drowned out by a blackness. He sees a bubble of white when he presses the delicate top of a centuries old thimble and it goes pop! Needle would be quick to tell you that words themselves have colour too, but it is how they are said that dictates the colour he sees: thimble is a finger-nail pink word, but say it like you hate it and his head will fill with red. His favourite colour, of course, is yellow – if he hears your words in yellow, it means you are happy, and that makes him happy too.

Synaesthesia is a fascinating subject that affects up to 4% of the population (that could be one person in every classroom!) and there are 165 different types. Sometimes, people do not even know that they have a form of Synaesthesia because that is the way things have always been for them, so I must admit I was very surprised to learn that I have an unusual form too, with cross-wired sight and touch: if I witness someone falling, I feel a nasty tingle, much like an electric shock! Some people have a form of Synaesthesia where they associate each letter of the alphabet or each day of the week with a different colour. I certainly know my Monday mornings are not a jolly yellow! And perhaps the most curious of them all, some synesthetes can even taste words – what would the word Elsetime taste of, I wonder?

Thank you to Eve for this insightful and informative guest post.

Blog Tour

Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more guest posts and reviews…

Thanks to Laura and Everything With Words for inviting me to join in with the blog tour and for sending me a gifted copy of the book. ‘Elsetime,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop. If you can please support your local independent bookshop, you can find your nearest one here.


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