Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone...
In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released.
Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face?
The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real. The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.
FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.
About the Author
Q. What is the book about?
A. The story takes place deep underground in the haunted tourist attraction called Henderson Close in Edinburgh’s Old Town. My central character – Hannah – has taken a job there as tour guide and her role is to take parties of visitors along the spooky, twisting streets, telling them old legends of ghosts, plague and interesting characters. All is going well for a short time but then Hannah starts to see things she cannot explain; a mysterious woman standing in the street below her flat - a woman who cannot be there. A slip in time back to the Henderson Close of Victorian times, a little girl with no face. All of a sudden, the legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real and the worst is yet to come.
Q.When did you first become interested in writing?
A. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. As a child I would make up stories for my dolls to act out, and adapt books I had read into stage plays. I saved up and bought my first typewriter (yes, I’m that ancient!) when I was ten years old.
Q. How did you get involved in fantasy/horror?
A. This goes back to a childhood reading Dennis Wheatley, Sheridan le Fanu and other authors of the genre. At school, I remember the deliciously scared feeling I experienced when we read The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs. The amazing thing about that story is that nothing gory actually happens, but when that knock at the door sounds... Oh, the shivers! I loved reading horror and stories that gave me goosebumps so I suppose it was only natural that I would gravitate to writing what I enjoyed the most.
Q. Is there any advice you can give someone starting to write?
A. Firstly, develop the hide of a rhinoceros – you’ll need it. Never argue online – especially with someone who has given you a less than flattering review. You never win those battles and I have seen some writers’ reputations permanently ruined. The main thing though is to produce the best work of which you are capable. The words ‘that’ll do’ should be eliminated from your vocabulary. Be prepared to be ruthless with your own work. If that paragraph doesn’t move the story on or serve some other useful purpose, out it goes. Finally, never, ever give up.
Q. Please in your own words write a paragraph about yourself.
A. I live with my long-suffering husband in a haunted 18th century building in North Wales. Fortunately for all concerned, the ghost is friendly and contents herself (she's definitely female) with switching on lights, and attempting to discover how the TV and washing machine work (it's a long story!). Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, I am now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. My daily walks have so far provided the inspiration for two short stories, a novel and a novella – from twisted trees to… well, it’s amazing what you see down by the river, as it flows through a sleepy rural community. Those with delicate constitutions are advised not to ask!
Q. Where do you write?
A. In a corner of the kitchen. I have my laptop, printer and occasionally a black cat will attempt to add her contribution by stalking across the keyboard.
Q. Did you write in silence, or to any particular music?
A. Silence. I don’t even have a window. I need to be totally immersed in the world I am creating.
Q. Did you find it hard to write? Or harder to edit your own work?
A. That’s an interesting question. First drafts usually come together fairly quickly but then the real writing starts and I typically redraft several times, editing as I go. The hardest bit is when you think you’ve caught all the anomalies, pitfalls, plot holes, inconsistencies and so on, and you have been over it so many times, you lose perspective. That’s the time to put it away for a couple of weeks – or longer – work on something else and then come back to it. The problems leap out at you then and that makes editing easier.
Q. What makes you write even when you’re exhausted?
A. Frequently it is because I’m in the middle of a scene and I don’t want to lose the momentum. In common with many writers, my characters drive the story onwards. I am merely the poor sap that has to hurry to keep up with what they’re saying and doing. I can hardly stop them in mid drama, can I? Even if my eyes are losing focus! It happened a lot with The Haunting of Henderson Close.
Q. What are you writing now?
A. I am working on a story set in Haworth – Bronte country – not far from where I grew up (in Halifax, West Yorkshire). There will be ghosts. There may be Bronte references, and there will definitely be bleak moorland, horizontal rain and the lonely cry of the curlew…