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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Walking a Rope Bridge at Gunpoint




Would you walk a rope bridge at gunpoint?



Cloak and Mirrors, the 6th book in the Black Swamp Mysteries Series, features a rope bridge in the climactic scene. I was inspired by the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, situated along the coast of Northern Ireland in County Antrim and not far from my ancestral home in Ballygawley.




The bridge was originally erected around the 1700’s when salmon fishing was big. The fishermen erected the bridge to a tiny island just off Northern Ireland’s coast called Carrickarede, which means the “rock of the casting”, where they would cast their nets. At one time, more than 300 salmon were caught each day. But by the turn of this century, less than 300 were caught in an entire season.



Today, the rope bridge is built for tourists—and therefore, for safety. It has handrails on either side and the slats are properly maintained. It is still a frightening trek, however, as the bridge can sway with both the strong Irish winds as well as the footsteps of every person in front and behind you. It is not for the faint of heart, and boats regularly transport visitors back to the mainland when they are so frightened that they can’t make the return journey across the bridge.




During the days in which the fishermen used it, however, it was not as sturdy or as well maintained, which further inspired the description in Cloak and Mirrors. In my book, I have located a similar rope bridge at an interior lough (or lake) that is exclusively used by the fishermen, so it more closely resembles the original rope bridges. They were strung in early summer and removed by late summer—usually lasting only from June to September. These bridges rarely had a handrail and the slats might be horizontally placed (with the length sideways) or vertically placed (one or two boards placed lengthwise as in the picture above), depending on the available wood. Sometimes the fishermen’s netting was used to keep the slats in place.



In Cloak and Mirrors, Vicki, Dylan and Brenda are fleeing from Russian operatives attempting to capture them. Not only must they navigate the bridge to reach an island in the lough, but they must do so under gunfire - one hundred and fifty feet above the water with no handrail.



The official launch date for Cloak and Mirrors is March 17, but you can pre-order the book now from amazon. The paperback sells for $16.95 (follow this link) and the Kindle sells for $6.99 (at this link).



Read an excerpt, watch the book trailer and find out more at http://pmterrell.com/cloak-and-mirrors/.