If you’re searching for stories for Halloween that will make your hairs stand on end then look no further.
Lorraine Cannell joins us this All Hallows’ Eve as part of her blog tour to celebrate the re-launch of her gripping YA psychological thriller, Hollow, complete with a gorgeous new cover.
Hollow’s main character is Liv, a fifteen year old amnesiac who joins her aunt’s psychic circle for a bit of fun, but who instead opens a doorway to the spirit world from which she can never return.
In essence, it’s about families, and what trauma does to them, and the terrible secrets they hold. But it’s also about self-discovery.
A few years ago, my husband and I bought a seventeenth century cottage in Hertfordshire. The first time I heard footsteps on the stairs in the middle of the night, I thought we had an intruder, and tried to get my husband to go and investigate. He told me I was imagining things – feeling brave, I decided to have a look around for myself. Of course, there was no intruder. But in the morning, my husband told me that he had heard the strange footsteps but was too freaked out by them to go and look! After that our night-time visitor came and went. Many a time we’d hear footsteps walking up the stairs, or the latches on the doors go.
Then one day, I looked out of the window to see a man talking to my husband. Paul was doing maintenance on his motorbike and was crouched down, and the man was standing behind him. I thought it was the local historian from the village who had called round several weeks prior. Minutes later, I walked outside to find Paul by himself and asked him what the man had said to him. He told me there was no man. He hadn’t seen anyone. Years later, I question myself as to whether I actually saw anyone.
My daughter also took these pictures (below) a few years ago - look at the last picture in the sequence - spirit or not?
My mum was into astrology and used to drag me to the odd psychic fair, so I was exposed to the idea of a spiritual world beyond ours from an early age. In my thirties, I explored my own spiritual development and joined a couple of psychic circles. So, a lot of my research comes from my own experiences. It’s that old adage of writing ‘what you know’ with a little bit of artistic licence thrown in for good measure.
All of my stories involve an element of magical realism, a sense of something beyond the ordinary. I don’t think I could write anything that didn’t have some other-worldly aspect to it.
I love Halloween, and I don’t remember ‘trick or treating’as such, but Mum would always make us a special Halloween tea – all of the food on the table would be labelled with spooky names like ‘eye of witch’ and ‘frogs’spawn’.
In my teens, I’d sometimes visit an old abandoned mansion with my friends. We’d approach this monolithic shell of a house, walking through the pitch-black night with its shadow rising in front of us. You could climb through one of the open windows, and there was this tree that had taken root and had grown through the centre of the mansion. We’d challenge each other to see how long we could stay inside the house before losing our bottle.
Danny from The Shining - to see The Overlook through his eyes and experience it as he did would be amazing.
I’m not sure I can pick one book. I read a lot of Virginia Andrews, James Herbert and Stephen King as a child. Often, I’d be hiding under the bed covers with a torch in one hand and a book in the other. Recently, I’ve enjoyed both Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey, and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.
I’m working on another young adult novel called Karma Karma, with a planned release in January 2019:
Seventeen-year-old Jack Ethan Dray has buried his street-gang past and is moving on with his life. But the past won’t stay buried. Karma is a double-edged sword, and Jack must confront the deepest, darkest part of himself in order to save himself and those he loves.
I wouldn’t say there is one writer that makes me green with envy, but there’s always a little bit of envy when someone I know is picked up by an agent/publisher. There are good vibes too, but I think it’s natural to be both pleased for someone when that happens and secretly envious too.
I’m not dressing up for Halloween, but I will be carving the annual pumpkin.
You can read more here about Lorraine's writing processes and her experience publishing with Amazon.
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