As a child, I read books with ferocity (I miss that—too much to do and too much to write equals not enough time to fall into a book and read until my brain and body feel like happy mush) but I often found myself anticipating a certain feeling that some books I read might evoke, only for the book to take a different route—just as satisfying, but leaving me wondering where this elusive story was. I’m still searching, even in the books I write myself.
The closest I’ve come to finding it was in Hogwarts Castle, a major character (yes, character. Okay, setting) in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books. How I wish I’d thought of such an amazing place, and written it. I never in a million years would have, though. It’s pure genius.
But I’ve loved castles for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a place that didn’t have many very old buildings, the oldest existing for fewer than a couple of centuries, if that. I was in total awe when I first travelled to the UK and Europe and stepped into buildings—castles, cathedrals, even pubs—that had stood for more than a thousand years, lived in and used by many generations. I loved the layers of history, of castles in particular because of the records of who had lived there and what they had done, and the constant adding and rebuilding—layer upon layer. You can just sense the spirit of the place being soaked into the stone.
Short post today, and I’m going to end with some more old photos of Warwick Castle. Yes, I was in a hurry and I really did take photos of my photos in an album 😉
Elle Carter Neal is the author of the middle-grade chapter book The Convoluted Key, picture book I Own All the Blue, and teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, holding childhood slumber-party audiences entranced until the early hours of the morning. Elle decided to be an author the day she discovered that real people wrote books and that writing books was a real job.