One of the joys of writing fiction is being able to take inspiration from various sources and put them all together exactly as you want. The exterior of Askerby Hall, the House of Shadows, is based to a large extent on the beautiful Burton Agnes Hall in East Yorkshire.
So I took Burton Agnes Hall and tweaked the roof, giving it a couple of towers and using the roof at Chillingham Castle in Northumberland instead for the climactic scene.
And this is a stylised version of how the designer imagined Askerby Hall for the cover of the hardback:
The house tucked away in the bottom corner of the paperback cover is less convincing, I think – although it does have a suitably creepy feel to it, I suppose.
Once I had the house just as I wanted it, I moved the whole building bodily from East Yorkshire to the North York Moors. I imagined Askerby to be somewhere like Lastingham, and the open countryside that Isabel loves so much is like this, actually the western moors above Kepwick.
As for Crabbersett, where Isabel and Judith grow up, this is based on a house even further away. Cotehele, a gorgeous National Trust house in Cornwall, has a clover shaped squint exactly like the one Isabel peers through when she first sees Edmund …
House of Shadows is available now on Amazon and at all good bookshops.