July 18, 2011
For me, it’s usually a building that inspires the plot of a book. But for What Lies Beneath
it was an entire village.
Quite near to where I live is a beautiful and mostly unspoilt village. It’s chockfull of history – it’s home to the 1,000 year-old Horn Dance; it’s mentioned in the Domesday Book, Henry VIII dissolved its monastery, and Dick Turpin stabled his horse at the local inn. In the best tradition of all self-respecting English villages, it had a feudal family of overlords who have now almost died out.
On the outskirts of this village is a massive reservoir, and there’s an elusive but...
January 27, 2011
The voice at the other end of the phone sounded distinctly suspicious.
kind of research for a book?’
‘I need to know if a church organ can make any kind of sound after it’s been abandoned for about fifty years.’
‘Do you mean somebody dumped a church organ somewhere?’ said the voice, clearly visualising an ecclesiastical version of Sainsbury’s car park.
‘No. The church – well, actually an entire village – was abandoned after chemical warfare testing in the 1960s. In my book, I mean.’
‘Oh, I see
. Like Sellafield...
August 12, 2010
Sometimes the shadows can be mightier than the substance.
Nearly ninety years ago the German film-maker F.W. Murnau chilled cinema audiences with the 1922 silent movie, Nosferatu.
It’s still chilling people today, and the creepiest scene of all is where the vampiric Count Orlok steals up the dark stairway, only his shadow visible on the wall. Thus sparking off a tradition that was to go from Hammer to Twilight, and provide a stream of starring roles for actors capable of turning on sinister charm at the drop of a garlic clove.
In the 1960s film-makers again became aware that what you don’t see is often scarier than...
August 02, 2010
It was not a day on which I was expecting to meet a ghost.
It was, in fact, a perfectly normal working morning. There was half a chapter to get into shape – an interesting, not too taxing, scene in House of the Lost
, describing how the main character is singled out by a lady as being a very desirable property…
Actually, I had singled him out a very desirable property, as well. It’s a sad fact of life but writers are fickle and heartless – in love with the current hero for as long as the book lasts, then on to the next one. Asked about the previous hero or heroine, they’re apt to say,...