The Devil's Serenade
Maddie had forgotten that cursed summer. Now she’s about to remember…
When Maddie Chambers inherits her Aunt Charlotte’s Gothic mansion, old memories stir of the long-forgotten summer she turned sixteen. She has barely moved in before a series of bizarre events drives her to question her sanity.
The strains of her aunt’s favorite song echo through the house, the roots of a faraway willow creep through the cellar, a child who cannot exist skips from room to room, and Maddie discovers Charlotte kept many deadly secrets.
Gradually, the barriers in her mind fall away, and Maddie begins to recall that summer when she looked into the face of evil. Now, the long dead builder of the house has unfinished business and an ancient demon is hungry. Soon it is not only Maddie’s life that is in danger, but her soul itself, as the ghosts of her past shed their cover of darkness.
My new novel will be released by Samhain in April and sees me return to the theme of a sinister Gothic house. Here, the evil owner - Nathaniel Hargest - has left a vile and deadly legacy, involving a seemingly innocuous wartime melody, and an impossible tree. Why is it impossible? Well, here's an extract (as yet unedited):
“Its gnarled bark looked knotted in parts and, in others, wrinkled and even stripped away. The center of the massive trunk was half hollowed out, scorched and withered from the lightning strike that no one could remember even when I was a child. Thick branches curved downward, interweaving with each other, some striking upward, others merely inches off the ground; one or two lay almost flat. It was a miracle tree in some ways. With such awful damage, it really should have died, but its will to live had proved too strong for that.”
“It had spawned its own branches which grew horizontally, entwined with each other and disappeared into the lush undergrowth behind the tree. Indian mallow and clinging ivy grew here in profusion.”
The above photograph shows the inspiration for this tree - albeit, as any writer would, I have played fast and loose with it for the purposes of telling a scary story. A good friend of mine told me willows are unique. They have a heart. Maybe that is why, whenever I sit on that long branch, I can feel some kind of power surging through it.
On a warm summer day last year, I was sitting on that very branch, musing, listening to the excited babble of the river when it shuddered beneath me - a strange kind of rippling - even though there was nothing to cause it. Certainly no strong gust of wind. At that moment, an idea formed in my mind...and from nowhere, I seemed to hear the strains of Glenn Miller and his Orchestra playing Serenade in Blue...
The rest? You will have to read it for yourself! Next spring. When the birds are chirruping... bees are buzzing...butterflies dance from flower to flower, and all seems right with the world. Unless you dig below the surface and find the evil that lurks beneath.
The Devil's Serenade will be available in the usual ebook formats and also print.
Huge thanks to the amazing cover artist, Scott Carpenter for - once again - reading my mind, interpreting my ideas and getting it spot on. Take a bow, Scott!