Serina Hartwell’s Photography Inspiration – Mills

Living in a mill town, I am surrounded on all sides.

Mills always had a lot more significance in my life than I ever gave them credit for. The huge vast buildings that surrounded my family home, stood almost invisible to me. Their familiarity was so great that I took them for granted. They had always been there and I assumed that they always would. That was all to change when the council decided to put a bi-pass through one of them when I was a child, changing the landscape irreversibly, as a great chunk of history was destroyed and lost forever.

Living in a mill town, I am surrounded on all sides by them. They lay derelict reminders of the past, they stand converted into flats and they dot the landscape of the town I live in. As a child, my friends and I would imagine all manner of untold ghosts and ghouls inhabiting them in our role play. The grounds of the nearest mill was our playground, dressed with long grass and unkempt land. The street I lived on had a mill at both ends and another, much grander mill, which stood mostly disused in the neighboring village. That was the mill my mother worked in; the mill featured in my first book, Hidden. This was a working mill until recently when mostly derelict, it burned down. It is the place where Bronte comes into harm’s way, but it is not the only mill that has influenced my story. Hidden is set in a combination of all of that mills that surrounded where I grew up. I took aspects of each mill and combined them into one.

In my third book, The Awakening, I bring my readers back to the mill introduced in the first book, but the story line follows another tale, a tale that is based on a true event. A mill fire broke out back in the 1950’s in my home town. Fires in mills were not uncommon with their timbers soaked with the oils from the fleeces used to make the wool and the heavy machinery used to process it, when fire broke out, the whole building was at risk of going up like a torch. The difference with this fire, was the story behind how the fire started. It rocked the surrounding community and led to new Health & Safety legislation being introduced. My Grandmother who was also a mill worker by trade, knew one of the ladies who died in the fire. I have taken elements of this event and turned them into my story. A tale of great intrigue and mystery, which I hope you will enjoy when I release it further down the line.

Here are just some of the pictures that I used for my research when writing The Hidden Saga. One of the techniques I use, is to build an image board. This helps me visualise a scene. Once that is set, the writing follows naturally. I hope you like my photography work. I have put together a collection of pictures that inspired me. You may notice one of the mills on the front cover of Hidden. This mill was the one I used to play in the grounds of.

I would like to thank you for taking the time out to read my page today. If you like my work, please feel free to shout about it and follow me on any or all of my sites. I thank you for your support and hope you enjoy The Hidden Saga as it unfolds.

2 thoughts on “Serina Hartwell’s Photography Inspiration – Mills

    • Thank you for your reply Cricketmuse. I’m actually an English writer, so I’ve not come across the North and South that you refer to, but it sounds like it might be up my street. I actually grew up surrounded by mills. The mills in the photos were all taken by me. They are mills from different areas, but all within a twenty mill radius of where I live now and grew up as a child.

      The mills I grew up with had a definite influence on the saga that I’m writing. Hidden – Book 1 and The Awakening – Book 3 of the Hidden Saga, both have storylines based in mills, but probably not in the way you might be expecting. I love to put a twist on things, wherever I can.

      The funny thing is that I had to go all the way to America to get published, so although I write in UK English, I’m having to have it converted into American English to fit your market. As it happens, I’m in the middle of publishing Hidden, as we speak, so look out for it. It’s coming soon.

      I thank you for your response, because it serves to reassure me that my work might be accepted by an American market. This is something I was really unsure about when I approached World Castle Publishing in the first instance. I hope you enjoy the rest of my website. Look out for future updates on the release of Hidden. I’ll be putting them up on the site as I get closer to the release date. One thing I can say is that I’m writing book 2 – Trapped and book 3 – The Awakening at the moment. Thank you.

      Serina Hartwell – Author of The Hidden Saga


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