Haunted: Gothic, Horror & Fantasy

The Morrow Secrets Trilogy’ – A Dark Gothic Fantasy Brimming with Magic, Secrets and the Paranormal

Readers ask me where I get my inspiration for the ‘The Morrow Secrets’ with its redolent Gothic atmosphere. The answer is from movies, paintings, drawings, books and architecture all influenced by the Gothic style. Here are some of my all time favourites and if you love all-things Gothic too, take a look.

…’Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before’…

                         ― Edgar Allan PoeThe Raven


Susan McNally – The Gothic Author (Article from Bangzo Book Magazine)

A childhood spent roaming the rugged landscapes of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, exploring the castles of Northumberland and investigating the wonderfully secluded island of Lindisfarne clearly left a lasting impression on author Susan McNally. Her debut novel, The Morrow Secrets, invites readers into an alternative magical world.


Depicted with a spellbinding vibrancy and inspired by the many pretty landscapes and peculiar quirks from her happy upbringing. But she hadn’t always wanted to be a children’s author. “I always wanted to write a novel but couldn’t find my genre until I began writing  The Morrow Secrets,” she states.


A few years ago the purchase of a children’s illustration
by the artist Edward Ardizzone rekindled memories of her favourite childhood authors and her favourite childhood day. “We’d been to a place called Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire for a picnic,” she says. “Later I went home, jumped in bed and I started reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I look back now and think life doesn’t get any better than that.”


Her early imagination was nourished by her parents and ignited her life-long love of fantasy and mystery genres. “My father told me many made up fairy stories about a princess that I named Varnaseen,” she tells us. This, along with a childhood love of literature, helped spark her vivid imagination. As a child she was surrounded by weird and wonderful characters. “My grandmother used to have a friend who would go into a trance and two or three times she predicted my mother’s future,” she laughs. “My mother liked having her fortune told too so I think my family was into spooky things.” Despite this decidedly eerie influence, Susan didn’t initially set out to write a work of Gothic fiction.


However, setting main character, Tallitha’s story in Winderling Spires, a “strange rambling house where you are never quite sure where the staircases might lead,” meant that “the Gothic atmosphere just fell into place.”


At the heart of her book lies the heroine, Tallitha Mouldson, a headstrong girl caught up in the sinister web of her eccentric family. Susan may have based aspects of Tallitha on a long tradition of inspiring females. “Women who defy convention, who are brave enough to step outside the confines


that society places on them, women who do rare and extraordinary things,” as she puts it. “I admire the musician Joni Mitchell, the Brontë Sisters, the suffragettes Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst, and in literature, Catherine Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games for contemporary readers. These are women who are compelled to do things that are outside the norm, challenging society.”


Susan wanted to defy the norms of literary convention too by focusing on strong female characters. “It is often boys in literature who get the adventurous plot lines and lead the story forwards. I wanted to challenge that stereotype.” However, in other respects she is very much your classic writer. This includes an almost fanatical love of writing. “I find writing quite compulsive at times. If I’m particularly gripped by a scene then I’ll get up at 2 o’clock in the morning and carry on writing”.


This passion for literature is something she thinks is important to share with the younger generation. “I think reading develops their inner world and their imagination
and helps children see the world from many different perspectives. Keen readers develop into clever articulate children. It also helps children empathise with the characters and their plight.” Susan sees the importance of reading, not just as escapism, but also as a tool for learning. The Morrow Secrets is “written in a way that will stretch children’s comprehension in relation to use of vocabulary.”


So what tips does she give to young aspiring writers?
“You have to write the book that you want to read,” says
Susan. “There is no point struggling to write something just
because it’s in vogue”. Equally, she says that there’s no point
labouring over something like some writers who have to sit
at their computer until they’ve written 1000 words a day,
however, “The more you write the more it flows… Get the
plot down on paper and even if the writing is not fantastic
first time round just keep on going because you can go back
and revise it”.

Get your copy at  http://myBook.to/TheMorrowSecrets

Twitter : https://twitter.com/SMcNallyauthor


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