Rocking with Rocks by Virginia King
Author of B.R.A.G. Medallion award-winning The First Lie
See below for giveaway and free download details!
The symbolism of objects has always fascinated me. My love of folklore means there’s always a mythical twist to my modern mysteries and ‘magic objects’ with fairy tale credentials often link up to form a matrix of clues. Such as rocks.
In Selkie Moon’s second mystery The Second Path the symbolism of rocks came to me, setting up a chain reaction of events in the story. It’s a good example of how an idea implants itself in the subconscious and multiplies into a theme.
Rocks as Gifts
When my husband got to sail on an ocean-going canoe with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, he experienced the custom of rocks being exchanged from one island to another as a form of gift. This custom was in the back of my mind in The First Lie, when my main character Selkie Moon ran away from Sydney to start a new life in Hawaii.
Rocks Carry a Curse
When I wanted Selkie to carry a rock as a gift, I researched the custom and discovered some alarming stories – from Hawaii and Australia.
It’s illegal in Hawaii to souvenir a lava rock from a national park, but people still do it and lots of lava rocks are mailed back by visitors who claim the theft has cursed them with bad luck. Many such stories abound and perpetuate the belief in the curse.
The rangers at Uluru (Ayers Rock) in central Australia are said to receive one parcel a day from hapless visitors returning ‘sorry rocks’ because the pilfered pebble has rained nothing but bad luck down on them.
In spite of these stories, I didn’t want to let my rock-as-greeting idea go, so Selkie doesn’t touch any lava rocks or go to Uluru.
With Selkie travelling abroad with a rock in her suitcase, my subconscious started playing with ideas. How could a rock play a part in the evolving mystery? What if …
- she takes a rock through customs at the airport and declares it?
- she’s carrying a rock in her hands ready to present it as a gift, but she gets caught holding it on a security camera, then later a window is found broken?
- she’s got a rock in her suitcase and the bag splits open? Might the rock carry other things with it when it falls out? What things? What does she lose?
Rocks have Cracks
When Selkie gives her rock as a gift, the recipient rubs his hands over it and feels a crack. His reaction surprised both Selkie and me:
“I like this crack,” he says. “Cracks signify wonderful things.”
He laughs. “Openings, secrets, doorways to hidden places, chinks in our defences, entrances to inner caves. Don’t get me started on cracks …”
This conversation is the beginning of another theme. The rock arrived in the story from just a simple idea but it grew into a series of symbols that weave and interconnect throughout the book.
About the author…
When a voice wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you to write a mystery series what’s a writer to do? That’s how Virginia King came to create Selkie Moon, after a massage from a strange woman with gifted hands was followed by this nocturnal message. Virginia sat down at the keyboard until Selkie Moon turned up. All she had to do was jump, the first sentence said. Soon Virginia was hooked, exploring far-flung places full of secrets where Selkie delves into psychological clues tangled up in the local mythology.
Before Selkie Moon invaded her life, Virginia had been a teacher, an unemployed ex-teacher, the author of over 50 children’s books, an audio-book producer, a workshop presenter and a prize-winning publisher. These days she lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney with her husband, where she disappears each day into Selkie Moon’s latest mystery. Bliss.
A Free Ghost Story
Get a taste for the Selkie Moon mystery series with Laying Ghosts, a modern 24-page haunted house story inspired by a Russian folktale and tangled up in a murder ballad dating back to the 1700s. It’s a standalone story but also a prequel to the series and explains the chilling reason for Selkie Moon leaving Sydney to start a new life in Hawaii. Download your free copy here.
Giveaway of The First Lie
You could be one of ten lucky winners who will choose either a signed paperback or an audio book of The First Lie plus a $15 Amazon gift code. One grand prize winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift code.
Or, if you simply can’t wait to own your own edition of The First Lie, hop on over to the author’s website and grab your copy!
Click here to see my review of The First Lie, the thrilling first in the Selkie Moon Mystery series.
Images courtesy Virginia King.