If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a bit of background to the story:
‘A dream inheritance, a dark legacy, a new beginning...
When Gareth Balaam inherits Harbinger House, he thinks his problems are over. But unfortunately, they've only just begun. Harbinger House has a dark past. Shrouded in mystery, what may have occurred within its walls is still a matter of conjecture. The locals at the pub talk about the place in whispers. Gareth's partner, Tim, thinks the house is haunted.
Gareth doesn't believe in ghosts, but he does believe Tim is using the house as an excuse to not work on their relationship. Their trip to the country to bring them closer seems to be doing the opposite. Tensions and resentments flare, and through it all, someone is watching...
Luka is lonely and bored. Confined to the shadows of the house for decades, he has driven all the previous occupants insane with lust. Except the last. The one man Luka had loved had broken his heart and had left rather than lose his mind. The house stood empty, and Luka was alone. But not anymore. There's life in the house again, two delicious lovers, two new humans to seduce. Except one refuses to play...’
Catherine: Welcome Kiran and congratulations on ‘Bedevil’. It’s your first published book, I believe. What attracted you to this genre and what inspired you to write this particular story?
Kiran: I’ve always been intrigued by anything paranormal – both fictional and real. I grew up surrounded by esoteric books. As a kid I’d like nothing more than reading about spontaneous human combustion, ghosts... or tales of demonic possession. I still have a fascination with the idea of thoughtforms, which I’m kind of exploring in the ‘Bedevilled’ stories.
I also have an interest in probate research, which is where the idea for Bedevil came from. People often dream of inheriting something out of the blue – money, or property. But what if that dream inheritance has a sting in the tail?
Catherine: On your website you say that you have been writing for as long as you can remember, can you recall who were your earliest influences?
Kiran: I was always drawn towards any book that looked ‘otherwordly’. I remember reading Mr Corbett’s Ghost by Leon Garfield at school, and then trying to write something with a creepy atmosphere. I moved on to the Pan Horror Story collections (I bought one book every two weeks. I think I had to save up for them) and James Herbert.
Catherine: You say you are attracted to the dark side of human nature. Why does this hold such fascination for you?
Kiran: I like mysteries. I like people who intrigue me...you know, there’s a hint that there’s more to them than they let everyone see. My peers growing up were very ordinary – I’d always find myself gravitating towards people with darker personalities.... or they’d gravitate towards me.
Catherine: ‘Bedevil’ is a short story, but do you have any plans for a novella or full length novel? If so, will you stay with this genre or diversify?
Kiran: I have a full length novel, which I’m about to start submitting to publishers – it still has a paranormal theme, but is not erotic. If it’s accepted it will probably be published under a different pen name.
I’d like to write novellas - I’m a big fan of short fiction. I love quick, dramatic reads.
Catherine: What are you currently working on?
Kiran: I have a few short stories in progress (I work on different projects according to my mood).There’s the follow-up to Bedevil and a contemporary M/M suspense, as well another erotic short. I’m mulling over an idea for a novella but it’s still just a glowing ember...
Catherine: Who are your favourite authors and why?
Kiran: James Herbert, Stephen King and Clive Barker are the authors I ‘grew up’ with. Now, having been epublished, I’m discovering new authors all the time. The thing I like most about my own publisher is how they’ve expanded their range to include different genres. A lot of epublishers focus on romance, whereas Etopia also provide suspense, horror, YA etc.
Catherine: What advice (if any) do you wish someone had given you before you started looking for a publishing contract?
Kiran: I think I was pretty well prepared for what I’ve experienced so far.
Catherine: A light-hearted question now. If you could live at any time or anywhere in history, where and when would it be? Who would you be?
Kiran: Actually, I’m going to cheat – I think I’d like to be one of The Doctor’s assistants (Dr Who) and be able to nip in and out different times and places in the Tardis. I’m not sure there’s a particular time in history I’d like to stick around too long in. And... I’d also have a companion with a definite dark side with me. Of course Captain Jack Harkness would be more than welcome to hitch a ride.
Catherine: Thank you very much for joining us today, Kiran. Where can we find out more about you and, crucially, where can we find your book?
Kiran: You can find out more about me here:
Bedevil can be found here:
Here’s an excerpt from ‘Bedevil’:
“Where the hell are we?”
Gareth braked hard as yet another blind bend approached. Each tight corner had him holding his breath as he anticipated a too-close encounter with a local driver hurtling the other way. He swore at the satnav, then instinctively ducked his head as the trees overshadowing the narrow road suddenly reached down even farther. Low-hanging branches tried to pluck the car from the tarmac, and rampant brambles flailed across the road as if trying to snare foolhardy travelers and drag them into their spiky embrace. For a second he wondered no traffic had actually come this way for years and nature was trying to reclaim the road.
“Not sure it’s the satnav’s fault, Gareth. You kept telling her to shut up. I think we went wrong at the junction back there.” Tim smiled at him. Gareth had bought the damn thing because it was preferable to his partner’s map reading skills, and to save the arguments. Didn’t stop Gareth from arguing with the ever-patient gadget instead, but at least it merely calmly recalculated the journey every time he ignored it, instead of throwing a terminally battered map book into the back seat and sitting in resolute silence as Tim was prone to do.
“Where in God’s name are we?” Gareth repeated through clenched teeth.
“Ask the satnav.”
“According to the satnav, this road doesn’t exist—we’re driving across a wasteland.”
“We are somewhere near Rippington.”
“And you know that how?”
“There was a sign.”
Gareth sighed and braked hard again. The trip wasn’t going well. He had hoped the day would herald a fresh start. Fingers crossed, they’d soon be moving to a new place away from the city and he would be able to spend some time with Tim without distractions. To try to get to know each other again. A new beginning.
But even with the prospect of a change of scenery, they were still bickering.
The tiny hamlet gradually staggered into being. The scattered cottages, almost hidden in the hedgerows on each side of the road, became closer together, merging into the High Street. The small and almost imperceptibly beating heart of the community sat huddled around the small village green. The place was deserted. The only sign of life was a cat wandering, tail up, across the road. No kids playing soccer on the green—no senior citizens leaning on walls and talking about the weather.
It’s almost pretty, Tim thought. Almost, but not quite. A bit isolated. Christ knows where the nearest wine bar is. Maybe that’s a good thing? The idea of moving into the country because Gareth couldn’t keep his dick in his trousers rankled—but better that than climbing into the car in the early hours to retrieve him when he phoned from a club unable to drive or, worse than that, wondering where he was when he didn’t phone and didn’t return home, either. No temptation—and no social life…
“There’s a pub,” Gareth said, as if he’d been reading Tim’s thoughts.
“Well, it says ‘food,’ so maybe it’ll open shortly. It’s turning into a nice evening; we’ll check out the house and maybe take a walk. Kill some time before the pub opens and then get something to eat.”
“Walk where? Around the green? That should take us all of five minutes.”
“For God’s sake, Tim. At least try.”
Gareth slammed the car door shut and activated the central locking system. It was later than he’d hoped; the sun was setting, a flock of birds wheeling up into the sky before turning back on itself and settling in the trees surrounding the village church. Almost pretty, he thought, turning on his heels to take in the rest of the scene. Almost, but not quite… Good God. He cleared his throat. Tim wasn’t going to like this. “Well, there it is, I think. Somewhere in there,” he said.
“What? That?” Tim followed Gareth’s gaze across the road. “No! Look at the place!”
The gate squealed in protest, as if it hadn’t been opened for decades. The sun had almost disappeared, the tops of the trees surrounding the house now brushed with a pink glow and the garden beneath consumed by shadow.
“I suppose it could have been beautiful once upon a time. It’s a little overgrown,” Tim said.
“Adds to its charm.” Gareth hoped he sounded convincing.
“Erm, not sure charm is the word you’re after.”
“Let’s take a look. Reserve judgment until we’ve seen inside the place.”
With Tim a footstep behind, Gareth made his way up the path, negotiating crumbling concrete and easing past rampant shrubs. Beside the front door, a plaque was just visible through the ivy clinging on to the building. He pried the stubborn stems away from the wood to read the carved words beneath.
“Well, that’s reassuring, Gareth. Harbinger of doom, and all that.”
“Curious the place isn’t called that on the deeds…just 20 Willow Green.”
Gareth slid the key into the lock and turned it. There was a moment’s hesitation before the catch clicked and the door eased open an inch, as if the house wasn’t quite ready for them. He smiled at Tim and, with a dramatic flourish, gestured for him to enter first. Tim shook his head.
“After you. The place is yours.”
“Ours, Tim. It’s ours.”
The warning cry from the rusting gate ripped his senses awake, but his mind was slow to follow. All Luka was aware of at first was the agony of sound and the warm trickle of blood from his ears. His muscles stretched as he moved, tendons almost tearing from the bone as he unraveled his body from its fetal position. He wailed with the new pain—a feeble echo of the metal against metal outside. His first intake of breath rasped down his throat and burned into his lungs. He clamped his mouth shut and breathed in deeply through his nose. The house was different—the odor of dust and mold and damp was still there, but something else too. The protesting gate had heralded the arrival of new flesh. He could smell it.
A river of cold air flowed across his pain-wracked body, caressing his arms, his chest, his legs—the outside world finding a way through a crack in his prison and reawakening his nerve endings to remind him of what he had been without for so long.
Touch. Skin against skin. Breath on skin…