Two talented local residents have joined forces to produce an original faerie story set in Hastings Old Town in the 1850’s.
Writer Sarah Corrie, with illustrations by Claire Fletcher, has self-published The Keepers of Hearts.
It tells the story of young Jack and his magical journey to find the sea faeries of Rock-a-Nore and mend his mother’s broken heart after her fisherman husband drowns at sea. Filled with despair, she longs to join him in the next life, leaving son, Jack, feeling abandoned by both his parents.
Jack’s journey takes him through the Old Town and East Hill.
He meets fishermen’s wives, a wise owl and a wise woman who help him find his way to the sea faeries who mend broken hearts by the light of the moon.
Mermaids are also called upon to help.
Told in rhyme and interspersed with songs, this is a magical story, beautifully illustrated by Claire, with a happy ending that author Sarah says will warm your heart. “The Keepers of Hearts took four years to write, “ she said.
“The original rhyme and repeating phrase, ‘Nobody knows where, nobody, knows where, nobody knows where we hide’, was inspired when one of my nieces started losing her baby teeth and I wrote a poem to send to her, from the sea faeries of Hastings.
“Then inspiration flowed and the sea faeries began to tell me their story about how they mend broken hearts.
“I felt as if I was being transported back in time to Hastings Old Town in the 1850’s and found that I could only write the story in the dark months of the year.
“A few weeks after I finally finished the book, I was put in touch with Claire and was delighted when she agreed to illustrate it.”
Claire says when she first read The Keepers of Hearts she knew she wanted to illustrate it. “I love stories about faeries and mermaids and I love the Old Town,” she said.
“So the book was right up my street.
“It’s been great fun working on this project as it inspired me to work in watercolour and use a looser style than I usually do in my work, which I think has created some really strong illustrations that bring the story to life.”
Illustrations from the book will be exhibited and available to buy at The Crown, All Saints Street, Hastings Old Town, May 16-18.
The book launch will be at The Fishermen’s Museum on Saturday, May 18 with readings at 2.30pm and 4pm. Readings last around 15 minutes and are suitable for adults and children aged six and over.
The book will be sold at a special price of £10 (usual price £12). Ten percent of all sales at the launch will be donated to The Fishermen’s Museum.
Sarah set up Rock-a-Nore Press to self-publish the book and hopes there may be the opportunity to publish other local authors.