Monday, February 1, 2016

Nina Milton's "In the Moors"

Nina Milton is most well known for her crime fiction series The Shaman Mysteries Series, published by Midnight Ink Books.

In the Moors was published in 2013 and followed by Unraveled Visions (2014). Beneath the Tor, set in the magical English town of Glastonbury was published at the end of 2015. Milton is a prize-winning short story writer and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. She works in the UK for the Open College of the Arts and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Milton applied the “Page 99 Test” to In the Moors and reported the following:
I think all writers are curious about what happens when someone walks into a bookshop and opens their book at a random page. Will it stand up to incidental scrutiny? This is what I found on Page 99:
“Sabbie,” Cliff began. “Last time…you said something about…my soul?”

“Yes. I think you still feel bad because while you were in the cottage, the essence we think of as ‘soul’ broke into pieces. A massive ordeal can shatter a soul and bits of it get lost, or hidden in different places.”

“You’re saying I left my soul in that place?”

“No – it’s inside you somewhere. Just fractured, floating all apart in your spirit world. It needs healing, that’s all.”

“Something needs healing, that’s for sure.” Cliff took a shuddering breath. “When I get out of here, I want it all back. Can we do that?”

“It will take a long time. But if you feel that you could see it through…”

“I want to try.”

We were speaking quietly now, leaning towards each other, so I hardly registered that someone had come in, but Cliff’s face suddenly became the colour of my uncooked bread dough. I spun round. Rey and his sidekick Abbott were standing with their arms folded. A quip sprang to my lips – that he made a habit of bursting into rooms without knocking – but it died prematurely. Like Cliff, I took in their sombre expressions.

“We’re here to interview the prisoner,” said Rey to the policewoman at the door.
Six years ago, a new character walked into my head. Like a few of my shamanic friends, she had set up a small business. Modern day shamans usually offer therapy to people who can find help no where else. Doctors, herbalists, psychotherapists, have tried and failed to help with these people’s problems and now they are desperate. People who visit a shaman for help are often on the edge; on the edge of society, on the edge of a breakdown, or even on the edge of something darker.

The first book in the Shaman Mystery series, In the Moors opens when a child’s body is found buried in the eerie depths of the Somerset Moors. Sabbie Dare’s client, Cliff Houghton, is arrested for wandering at night over the shallow grave, now empty. Sabbie starts to work with him, and uncovers repressed memories from his childhood, but, as another small boy disappears, and fresh, damming evidence turns up at his flat, Cliff is charged with both murder and kidnap.

In the excerpt from page 99, Cliff has been brought up from police cells and Sabbie has been able to visit him alongside his solicitor, Linnet Smith. They are not discussing Cliff’s innocence – Sabbie already believes that implicitly – but the state of Cliff’s soul. Shaman understand souls; they work with them all the time. They believe that the soul is the first port of call when severe trauma hits a person. This theory does explain why childhood traumas affect us for so long – the rest of our lives, in some cases – and why we feel so badly shaken after horrid events, even if we were not touched physically. Often, the clients Sabbie sees have had their souls splintered or lost from past trauma, and it’s her job to retrieve those soul parts and help that person rebuild their life.

But the first thing Sabbie wants to do is to prove Cliff’s innocence and – if she possibly can – find the missing child. Ancient shamans were reputed to be able to find lost things…can Sabbie locate little Aidan Rodderick? Her attempts place her into deeper and deeper danger, but also throw her together with Detective Reynard Buckley, a fizzing relationship which will continue throughout the trilogy.
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--Marshal Zeringue