The novels I write don’t seem to fit into one particular genre. I dub them ‘Supernatural Mystery Thrillers’ although I notice that my first, ‘The Demdike Legacy’ has been classified by Amazon under the ‘Crime Thriller’ banner, while ‘Familiar Territory’ has somehow slipped into ‘Horror’. Ah well, make your own mind up!
I first began to write ‘The Demdike Legacy’ more than 20 years ago after we’d moved into the village of Chipping and I found I could see Pendle Hill from my ‘study’ window. I’d read Harrison Ainsworth’s iconic story ‘The Lancashire Witches’ when I was a teenager, as well as Robert Neill’s ‘Mist Over Pendle’ but after much further research came to the conclusion that the so-called Pendle Witches had had a pretty raw deal. I set out to write a modern version which painted them in a better light but my characters always seem to take on a life of their own and new ideas and situations sprang into being on the page so some of them still ended up with a pretty raw deal anyway!
‘Familiar Territory’ came about altogether differently and an original short story version was written well before ‘Legacy. It sprang from an incident I became involved in when I spent around 12 months as a part-time professional Tarot Card reader something like 30 years ago. (I still have the original manuscript, typed on an old Brother portable, around somewhere.) It was only when my Pendle Witches insinuated themselves into the tale that the whole thing really came together as a prequel. I suppose it was their involvement that spawned the ideas for ‘Legacy’ and I freely admit that it was the fact that 2012 marked the 400th anniversary of the trial at Lancaster Castle that prompted me to try to get my efforts into print.
I was pleasantly surprised by the response to ‘Legacy’ with some pretty good reviews on Amazon and other places around the web, and it was this, together with the fact that I was now officially ‘retired’ and no longer had to prepare lectures for my journalism students at the University of Central Lancashire, that brought about the resurrection of ‘Territory’. And it was a resurrection, as my original script had been written on an old Atari 1040Ste computer and was stored on floppy disks which needed to be accessed and the text completely reformatted.
I was a little nervous about ‘Fell Creatures’ as it was the first completely new novel for a while, but it didn’t turn out too bad when it was published in June 2014.
‘Sweet Molly Alone’ followed in October 2015 ;‘The Ill-starred Exile of John Smith’ in March this year and now the sixth, and latest, ‘The Portal’ is finally out.