I’m delighted to be welcoming Stephen Lloyd Jones to Jera’s Jamboree today.
Stephen Lloyd Jones grew up in Chandlers Ford, Hampshire. He now lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and far too many books. The String Diaries is his first novel.
The String Diaries, published by Headline on 4th July, is a novel told across three periods and settings. While most of it is set in present-day Snowdonia, other sections feature Balliol College, Oxford, in the 1970s, and nineteenth century Budapest.
The story opens with Hannah Wilde driving through the night to a remote mountain farmhouse, pursued by a man whose background she only partly understands. On the passenger seat, Hannah’s husband is bleeding to death from dreadful injuries. Behind them sleeps their nine-year-old daughter.
Hannah knows that only she can save her family from the man who hunts them, a killer responsible for the murders of family members stretching back five generations. Hannah also knows that her only help lies within the cracked and age-yellowed pages of a bundle of diaries bound up with string.
These diaries – the string diaries of the title – are a collection of hand-me-down journals and letters written by Hannah Wilde’s ancestors. They represent everything her forebears have learnt about the nightmare that follows her. They’re a family history, closely guarded, but more importantly they’re a survival guide.
At the heart of The String Diaries lies an old Hungarian myth, a tale full of warnings and horror, relayed by parents on frozen winter nights, told to children to frighten them into obedience. One of the things I found fascinating, as early reviews of the novel began to appear, was the way a few reviewers wrote about this mythology as if it were real (or certainly as if it were a ‘real myth’). But, I have to confess, that’s not the case.
The hosszú életek, and their history, are entirely fictional. I’ve always enjoyed reading stories with sweeping backstories and invented histories; I spent much of my youth living in the worlds created by J R R Tolkien and George Lucas, and I found their invented mythologies as real and as compelling as stories, such as Dracula, whose underlying background – if not based on real history – is still based on a genuine myth. And, while writing The String Diaries, I had enormous fun creating the fictional mythology that lies beneath the surface of this contemporary thriller. If you choose to read the book, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.
Thank you for being my guest today Stephen.
*I have a confession, I absolutely LOVED The String Diaries! *
Watch out for my review on 18th July.
The String Diaries.
A jumble of entries, written in different hands, different languages, and different times. They tell of a rumour. A shadow. A killer.
The only interest that Oxford Professor Charles Meredith has in the diaries is as a record of Hungarian folklore … until he comes face to face with a myth.
For Hannah Wilde, the diaries are a survival guide that taught her the three rules she lives by: verify everyone, trust no one, and if in any doubt, run.
But Hannah knows that if her daughter is ever going to be safe, she will have to stop running and face the terror that has hunted her family for five generations.
And nothing in the diaries can prepare her for that.
Thanks to the publishers, Headline, I have three hardback copies of The String Diaries to giveaway to Jera’s Jamboree readers. These will be posted direct from the publisher so UK entries only for this giveaway.
Follow the link to the Rafflecopter below and GOOD LUCK!
CONGRATULATIONS to the winners: