Tuesday 13 September 2022

"Have You Always Written Horror?"

People ask me if I have always written horror – or dark fiction if you prefer. The simple answer is ‘no’. In fact, over the years, I have written stories for children (the still unpublished The Adventures of Henry the Toad and All His Friends springs to mind) and light romantic fiction (until I got so fed up with the wimpy heroine that I left her stuck in a lift/elevator from where she hasn’t emerged in thirty-six years. That’ll teach her!). I have written historical fiction and crime, poetry, a comedy-drama about Neolithic henge builders (ah yes, The Beaker Folk. I remember them well. An agent told me the play would be good for radio. I’m still waiting to hear back from the BBC. It’s been around thirty-five years. Do you think it’s too soon to chase them up?)

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 destiny

1941. 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)



Crossroad Press

Nik Keevil and Flame Tree Press Studio


  1. I love Linden Manor! One of my favorite books by you and it was my first introduction to your work! Loved this blog post, Cat! :)