My new, upcoming indie horror title, ‘Maypole,’ opens with the central character, Lisa Marston, fleeing her abusive boyfriend. The chase begins at their flat in the old town part of Durham and follows a specific route (about 0.6 of a mile) to the traffic lights on Church Street. Here the pursuer gets in a scrap with a passing motorist and is arrested by police.
For those unfamiliar with this beautiful northern city, I include a series of images below to illustrate the route of the chase and an approximation of the journey seen through the fleeing woman’s eyes.
I hope you enjoy them.
‘Maypole,’ is due for release in paperback and Kindle on 27th June. The Kindle version is available for pre-order now.
It’s been a
delightful few months, bashing away at my new novel. I decided that I wanted to
do something in the haunted house line, but with a twist. Not that there’s
anything wrong with the classic setup of wronged spooks roaming a creepy old
building. I love books like that. One joy of the ever expanding horror market,
is new authors bringing their own perspective on that delightful, tried and
Towards the end of 2013, I rented a cottage in the small Dorset village of Sydling St. Nicholas. As a keen walker, I spent time traipsing through the surrounding valleys and enjoying The Wessex Ridgeway. During a climb from Cerne Abbas up to the broad ridge (from where the word ‘Sydling’ derives) I mused what a wonderful spot it would be for a windswept haunted house. Five and a half years later I built one there (in fictional literary terms at least), and you can now read about it in ‘Caveat Emptor.’
A number of real-life local spots feature in the book, including Sydling St. Nicholas, its church and the beautiful river walk, Cerne Abbas, St. Mary’s, Giant Hill and the street of Tudor cottages outside the old abbey that form the lead character’s flat in the story. You’ll find a few snaps I took from those locations, scattered throughout this blog post.
The tale predominantly
focuses on thirty years in the life of David Holmes, a twenty year old man who
moves over from Wiltshire in 1985, to become a Dorset estate agent. His first
day on the job finds him performing a visit to a fire-damaged manor that
pre-dates the English Civil War. Recent occupants died during the
conflagration, and the house will be one of his responsibilities for sale.
Among the distinct joys of writing this book, I’ve most delighted in taking a trip down memory lane. Cars, fashions, technology, music, films, attitudes and current events are all used to set the scenes. From ‘Live Aid’ in 1985 through the ’87 hurricane, ’89 fall of the Berlin Wall, millennium bug, dot-com collapse, 911 attacks and 2015 Conservative win, there is a rich backdrop against which to present the various scenes. However, this was not done just for the heck of it. The principal antagonist is an ancient entity for whom unfolding centuries are a solitary agony, punctuated by occasional decades of joy. I won’t go into the source of that joy, because: spoilers! But observing David’s relatively brief life and the changes that occur, place the entity’s torment into a much clearer perspective.
I took a big
risk at the climax as – while the ‘baddie’ element is defeated after a fashion
– it’s not quite vanquished in the way a reader might expect. I guess it’ll be
the ‘Marmite’ of Horror/Paranormal Romance/Supernatural Suspense, in that they’ll
either love it or hate it.
At the time of
writing, ‘Caveat Emptor’ is available for pre-order in Kindle format,
ahead of its 25th March release date. As with my other work, a
paperback version will roll out around the same time. Should you clock the
Amazon page count on the pre-order, please ignore it. They always under-read by
a huge margin. The book is 81,000 words/348 pages in a 5.25 x 8 paperback. Once
the product descriptions are linked on Amazon, the Kindle page count will correct
to reflect the actual length based on the print version.
Do you believe a house can have a soul?
If you had asked that question to David Holmes back in 1985, it might have given him pause. The next three decades of his career as a Dorset estate agent, provided a very definite answer.
Meoria Grange is an impressive manor, built around the time of the English Civil War. It stands sentinel atop the Wessex Ridgeway, occupying a site of historical importance dating back into the mists of British antiquity.
When a family move in to renovate after a tragic fire, horrific outcomes draw David ever closer to their disturbing source.
Similar repetitions unfold each time he instigates another sale, until a very personal impact causes him to seek out some answers once and for all.
How can pure love and abject horror exist together with such inexplicable harmony?
If you’re stuck for gift ideas this Christmas, how about helping someone get a little De’Ath in their life?
All my titles are available in paperback as well as Kindle format. The good news is, the paperbacks are also enrolled in ‘Matchbook.’ This means that if you purchase one, you can also acquire the Kindle version at a decent discount. So, why not treat someone else and yourself at the same time?