Mexico Inspires New Novel
Live Ribble Valley meets Maria Broadhurst, the author of a newly released book Shadows from the Past. Photography: Jason Broadhurst
Born in Lancashire, Maria Broadhurst always harboured ambitions to write a book, but working with her photographer husband in a busy family business, and with two children, it meant she never had the time – until recently.
The inspiration for her novel came from a family holiday in Mexico, where she began to learn about the traditions of Dia de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead.
During this his two-day tradition, it is believed that the passageway between the real world and the spirit world is open, so that the souls of the dead come back to visit their loved ones.
Maria explains: “Contrary to popular belief, Dia de los Muertos is not a sad or depressing time, but a period of happiness and celebration. With an explosion of colour and life-affirming joy, people honour the memories of those who once touched their lives and, although this custom and tradition originated in Mexico, it is now celebrated and followed by many throughout the world.”
Day of the Dead has been portrayed in a number of movies including Night Before Christmas and Corpse’s Bride. It has also featured in prominent films like The Book of Life and James Bond Spectre – not forgetting Disney’s CoCo.
Maria’s book Shadows from the Past is a paranormal romance narrated by Saskia, the main character in the novel. Saskia’s journey starts in Manchester, moves on to Mexico and concludes around the Day of the Dead celebrations.
“When dreams and nightmares bring back memories, Saskia discovers that the secrets of life may not be waiting for her in the future, but that they are actually in the past,” explains Maria.
Leaving a loveless marriage and in search of her lost soul, destiny takes Saskia to Mexico for the celebration of Dia de los Muertos, a time when both the living and the dead come together in celebration of the ‘continuum of life’.
Whilst in Mexico, Saskia experiences déjà vu and meets Miguel, the man who appears in her dreams and nightmares. They soon unearth the fact that they have lived before as lovers and discover that their past life souls are in purgatory.
As their past lives intertwine with their present, long buried secrets are revealed, but will their confessions help put right any sins committed in their previous life, so their past life souls can move on to heaven?
Maria says: “The novel illustrates that the Day of the Dead is a time when life and death reunite and it’s on this day that communication really does exist between the living and the dead.”
Having spent many years drafting ideas in her spare time, at the end of 2019, Maria made a New Year’s resolution to complete the book and get it published. She used the time during lockdown to successfully finalise the novel and set the wheels in motion for it to be published and released in time for the Day of the Dead.
Maria is now delighted that all of her ideas have come to fruition: “I am thrilled that I’ve managed to write a book as it has always been my ambition!”
Shadows from the Past is now available to download as an e-book, or to order as a paperback from Amazon