Years passed, life happened and, having no luck in enticing a publisher or agent to take me on, despite some really encouraging feedback, I stepped back to take a long hard look at what I was doing and what I most enjoyed writing and it came down to…
I had always adored scary, ghostly stories, frequently set sometime back in history, in Gothic houses with creepy corridors where shadows moved and you were never ever truly alone…even though you were the only living thing for miles around.
Readers, I did it. I switched genres yet again and entered a competition with an American publisher of repute called Samhain. The prize was to be one of four authors whose novellas would be combined into an anthology of Gothic horror stories.
When I opened an email some weeks later from Samhain’s Horror editor in chief, Don D’Auria I expected the usual ‘thanks but no thanks’. I had to read it twice, then another twice to be sure I hadn’t misunderstood. Here’s the section that had me leaping around the room making rather odd ‘whooping’ noises:
‘Welcome to the Samhain family!
‘I've read through all the (many) submissions to the Samhain Gothic horror anthology, and I'm happy to say that Linden Manor was one of the very best. Congratulations! You beat out some pretty stiff competition. Linden Manor is a truly fine piece of work. And so I'm pleased to offer you a contract for the novella…’Since then, I have never looked back. Linden Manor joined fabulously creepy stories, Blood Red Roses by Russell James, Castle by the Sea by J.G. Faherty and Bootleg Cove by Devin Govaere in an anthology (now, sadly out of print) called What Waits in the Shadows. Samhain became my publisher and, following their demise, the books I released with them were reprinted by Crossroad Publishing, including Linden Manor which is now available in ebook and audio versions here.
These days, I love writing Gothic, haunted house, historical horror stories and have also dabbled in a little folk horror. I am published by Flame Tree Press which means I am lucky enough to still be able to call the great Don D’Auria my editor.
As for my latest novel – Dark Observation is out in hardback, ebook and paperback.
“a dark, disturbing thrill ride” – Publishers’ Weekly
"An engaging, multigenerational tale of dark magic and occult" - Booklist
Here’s what you can expect to find:
Eligos is waiting…fulfil your destiny1941. In the dark days of war-torn London, Violet works in Churchill's subterranean top secret Cabinet War Rooms, where key decisions that will dictate Britain’s conduct of the war are made. Above, the people of London go about their daily business as best they can, unaware of the life that teems beneath their feet.
Night after night the bombs rain down, yet Violet has far more to fear than air raids. A mysterious man, a room only she can see, memories she can no longer trust, and a best friend who denies their shared past... Something or someone - is targeting her.
Dark Observation is available here:
Bookshop.org (where you can support your favourite local bookshop)
and at good bookshops everywhere (on the shelf or to order)
Nik Keevil and Flame Tree Press Studio