Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bannerman's Castle

Hudson Valley Photography
If you read Taken, you remember a brief mention of a castle at which Joseph arranged a meeting of the Cole Legacy. This location was my first inspiration for Lady Eleanor and Kol's home in the new world. I sometimes regret that in the three years since, I have chosen a new home (a topic for another day) though the Castle still resides in my dreams. In my writing, it still remains unnamed. In the real world, it goes by the name of Bannerman's Castle and rests on Pollepel Island in the Hudson River.

I remember vividly the day I was researching possible meeting places for the Legacy. Joseph said he would summon the family to the castle and all I could think was four days was not enough time for Lady Eleanor to travel to her homeland. Growing up in New England and having often crossed the Hudson River, I knew there were huge houses and wonderful castles littering the Hudson Valley, so I started googling.The photos posted on the Hudson Valley Photography website were so breathtaking that I knew right then and there I had to use them in some way.

As you can tell, the castle is in ruins giving me free reign to design the inside as I see fit. In my imagination, Lady Eleanor, bent over her cane, hobbles up the grand front staircase with the help of her youngest son, Joseph. A bird's eye view captures her white hair in it's typical tight bun and a long dress covered with a black cloak. Beside her, Joseph's brilliant ginger hair stands out against the darkening surroundings. Once inside, they hand their jackets over to the evening's hired servant and step forward through a set of grand french doors to the head of a large staircase to be met by the gleaming blue and green eyes of the Legacies children.
Photo by Neil Caplan via bannermancastle.org 

When I designed these scenes in Taken, the history of the castle didn't matter. I just needed a meeting place. As my writing builds, I find that I need to know the real history of the island. Without it, I can not weave it into the my own story as I have done with so many other true life events and locations.

The true history of Pollepel Island and Bannerman Castle are just as rich as that of the Cole Legacy. I will not attempt to summarize it here as I am just today grazing the subject. However, both  Hudson Valley Photography and bannermancastle.org have wonderful summaries on the subject!