Posts Tagged ‘Best Children’s Fiction’

Writing Book 3 in The Morrow Secrets Trilogy, “The Dark Spell”

July 1st, 2014

8741_495390240481323_579824652_nWhen I began writing The Morrow Secrets I didn’t have a plan and hadn’t decided that it would be a trilogy but as the story evolved I knew that Tallitha and Tyaas were destined for many more adventures after they reached the dark castle at Hellstone Tors.

My writing style has evolved from those first rough drafts. I am a writer who naturally lets things develop from inside the plot and the characters. Initially I had an idea for a girl trapped in a sinister family, desperate to escape from her strange relations, to unearth the family secrets and to leave the eerie house of Winderling Spires behind … but to go where? Curiosity got the cat… so to speak ( or rather Tallitha) and so the story developed and the characters took over. The whole experience has been a roller coaster journey that I have loved.

I created over 50 characters in Book 1 and this number grew significantly in Book 2, The Shadow of the Swarm. But what would Book 3 be like? What would the characters do, where would they take me? Believe me, I let them have their head and the third book evolved in the same way.

ghostsThe Dark Spell has been more difficult to write than the first two with many changes, tweaks and rewrites. There have been periods of procrastination when the task ahead felt daunting. Magically however whenever I sat at my computer and re-read the last chapter, off I would go, back into Tallitha’s world and the realm of magic and make-believe.

I ask myself, how does this process happen? Where does my inspiration come from? Quite honestly I have no idea other than I love my characters, am inspired by old film stills and my Gothic, fantasy setting.

Perhaps the final book in a trilogy is always difficult to write, or perhaps it’s because I don’t want to end my time with Tallitha and Tyaas, Sybilla, Ruker, Snowdroppe and Marlin to name but a few.

I would love to know what other writers think. I know that G.R.R. Martin has spoken of his mammoth task in bringing The Game of Thrones to a conclusion and he has many more characters than I do.

the-woman-in-black-review-e1353327177531During this process I have written into the wee small hours often obsessing about my characters as I fall asleep. They lead me here and there, down a number of dead ends; plot lines that don’t work; having to rewrite scenes and kill off a ‘number of my favourite darlings’. That was painful and oddly it took a long time to get there but I did it in the end and they have been exercised.

The Dark Spell is almost, almost finished.

My second edit has been gruelling.

The story is dark and creepy; a Gothic fantasy with a smattering of the supernatural, paranormal and the occult; witches and more, ghouls and ghosts and a few tears.

time-of-their-lives-seanceFor those of you who loved the first 2 books in The Morrow Secrets, hold on for book 3.

I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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Posted in Being An Author, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Gothic Influences, Supernatural, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

The Morrow Secrets – With New Spooky Gothic Illustrations

August 29th, 2013

The Morrow Secrets out on Amazon

Order your copy at
Photo: Order your copy at

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Posted in Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Creepy, Dark Gothic Fantasy, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fantasy Trilogy, Paranormal, Spooky, Susan McNally, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

The Morrow Secrets Trilogy has a Three- Book Deal!

February 13th, 2013

It’s such fantastic news! I have a three-book deal for The Morrow Secrets Trilogy! It’s been quite a journey and I have learned so much about the highs and lows of self publishing and have met (virtually) other authors who have shared their experiences and helped me along the way.

So from putting ‘pen to paper’ it’s been almost 2 years! At times I thought that writing the first book was the easy part after the endless social networking and promotion ( which didn’t come easily)

Watch this space!

The spooky house of Winderling Spires

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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Dark Gothic Fantasy, New Children's Adventure Story, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

Macabre Gothic Inspiration

August 28th, 2012


When I need inspiration I look at photos from this site “The Macabre and the Beautifully Grotesque”

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

Recently I visited the Western section of Highgate Cemetary in leafy North London  to do research for the next book in The Morrow Secrets series. Oh what a fantastic gothic haven! The cemetary is packed with ideas – the amazing Egyptian Avenue filled with family vaults leading to the a circle of gothic catacombs.

The Egyptian Avenue

It has the most amazing gothic illustrations and photographs from across the world

Many famous people are buried there: three women authors, George Eliot ( “Middlemarch”) d.1880; Radclyffe-Hall d.1943 who wrote “The Well of Loneliness” and Stella Webb d. 1989 better known as Stella Gibbons who wrote “Cold Comfort Farm” –

On the tour we heard about supernatural writers and films. Dracula has been filmed there and A Picture of Dorian Gray with Colin Firth.

As a writer I always take a camera and something to jot down ideas. In the late Victorian era families would often visit their dearly departed and take tea with them in the vaults!

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Posted in Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Influences, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

You Tube Video & Radio Broadcast about Writing “The Morrow Secrets”

August 23rd, 2012


You Tube Video & Radio Broadcast about Writing “The Morrow Secrets”

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires


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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel | Comments (0)

Paranormal Experiences – Influences On My Writing

August 23rd, 2012

As a young girl, not only did I adore the Addams Family (, Bewitched ( and the Munsters ( but as a teenager I got into the Hammer Dracula movies (  in a big way – going to see the double bills at my local cinema on a Sunday Night! Fright Night!

Did this obsession come first or was I predisposed to the cult of the macarbre and the Gothic? I have already written about my aunt who went into a trance and foretold my birth but my mother would always cross a travelling woman’s hand with silver and take the clump of heather from her. Looking back she was superstitious about many things… black cats, not walking under ladders and repeating a rhyme on the first of every month… just for luck.

Marlin on the Secret Stairs

Then as a teenager I had some weird experiences of my own. Once I was levitated by my friends… it didn’t happen to anyone else, only me. In the summer holidays, when I was 14 or 15 we started to play with a home made Ouija board… the results grew more ominous day by day until the outcomes were so terrifying… summoning black magic, voodoo spiritual curses appearing and discovering long dead spirits that we ran from the house…. Later I heard a ghost, dropping metal implements at my boyfriend’s house when everyone was out. His mother confirmed that there were spirits abroad, they were unhappy that the family was leaving the farm after six or seven generations….

So that’s probably the reason I am drawn to the mysterious, the Gothic, and books with sinister twists and turns… a haunted house always adds to the plot line as far as I’m concerned!


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Posted in Being An Author, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Gothic Influences, Supernatural | Comments (0)

Recommendation for The Morrow Secrets on Amazon in the Fantasy Genre Section…

August 22nd, 2012

I woke up this morning, turned on my emails and did a double-take…. My book title was staring me back in the face… It was there in my In Box as an Amazon recommendation for my book in the fantasy and science fiction genres.

Is this a good thing? Well I guess it isn’t bad… but those of you out there who this has happened to, can you please answer these questions for me:

Does this happen to all books on a rotation so to speak? So does every new author get a recommendation?

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

If it isn’t all books, then how does Amazon decide which books to choose?

Does this mean it goes to lots of other people who have bought books in these genres?

How often does it happen ( per book)?

Does it result in more visibility?

Does it translate into people actually reading/ buying your book?

Sorry I’m asking all these questions but I just don’t know….

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Posted in Being An Author, Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Gothic Influences | Comments (0)

How to Write a Novel: Magical Gothic Adventure Story

August 18th, 2012

I wish someone had told me some of these writing tips before I started to write my trilogy. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way and maybe they can help you in your writing adventure!

* If you think you have a book inside you, just begin, it doesn’t matter if you change it later, at least you’ve started.

* There are no rules about when to write…. only the ones that suit you.

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

* Write the book you want to write, anything else is too much like hard work – Writing must be fun!

* There are many books on how to write fiction but two that helped me are :

Sol Stein “Stein on Writing”    Strategies/dp/0312254210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345134804&sr=8-1

Celia Brayfield “Bestseller: Secrets of Successful Writing”

* Always stop when you have more ideas in the “creative pot”, then coming back to the work will be easier.

* Keep reading lots and lots of books! Look at how writers write their books, their use of dialogue and plotting. Watching movies is an excellent way to learn your craft. Screen writers have to get an idea over very quickly, they may only have 90 minutes to tell the whole story so observe their techniques – their spare use of words, how the actors communicate with one another, how tension is built. This “intense watching” of a movie will make you more critical and you will begin to see when a plot line works and when it doesn’t. It’s the same with writing, once you lose the reader they’re gone, they’ve stopped believing in your make-believe. So keep it real, reduce the number of words you use and imagine yourself as the reader… would you be hooked on this character or this scene? If not change it or cut it.

* Don’t give up, even when you’ve had a bad day, remember how good you feel when the writing just flows… you and only you have created that!

* Never be satisfied with the first draft!

* If something jars with you then it will jar with your readers. Listen to your gut instincts and cut it out!

* When you get an idea, sit with it and let it brew inside you like a delicious potion, until it is time to experiment and write it down.

Finally, enjoy the writing process, it’s the best fun ever!

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Posted in Being An Author, books for 9-14 year olds, Creative Writing Process, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing | Comments (0)

Magical Children’s Story – Five Star Reviews for The Morrow Secrets

August 12th, 2012

I just reviewed: ‘The Morrow Secrets (The Morrow Trilogy Plus)’ by Susan McNally
“GRIPPING READ”. I loved the Morrow Secrets, was gripped from the first page, kept me enthralled and guessing throughout. Really looking forward to the next one.

The Old House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

5.0 out of 5 stars A dark treat :)

Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: The Morrow Secrets (The Morrow Trilogy Plus) (Kindle Edition)

You know you’re onto a good book when you start reading it just to get a general feel of the book – only to look up and find it’s been 4 hours since you did anything except read and you have work in the morning. It’s an even better sign when you decide you don’t care much for work anyway and just carry on reading.

That’s exactly what ‘The Morrow Secrets’ is. The first of what looks set to be an incredibly gripping series centred around the adventures of Tallitha and her brother Tyaas as they treck into strange uncharted lands to discover even stranger truths and secrets.

What really stands out about this book is that despite the general consensus being that it’s a children’s novel – the book is unabashedly dark. Not dark in a gratutiously scary way that would dissuade younger readers, but in the same vein that pioneers like Tim Burton and the ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’ have managed to captivate adults as well.

This book is a hugely important addition to that genre and I honestly can’t wait to see what comes next in what looks set to be an epic series.

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Posted in Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Magical Adventure, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

A Magical Adventure Story That Will Keep Children and Adults on The Edge of Their Seats!

August 10th, 2012

Read this great 5 Star Review recently posted on Amazon

Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)


This review is from: The Morrow Secrets (The Morrow Trilogy Plus) (Kindle Edition)

What a great story! The plot leading you on a dark and dangerous adventure full of intrigue, betrayal and magic.

The Old House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

This book pulls you in and immerses you into a gothic world full of strange creatures, mysterious characters and elusive secrets. The attention to detail is amazing, as well-imagined and developed as anything in the Harry Potter series.

Young girls will especially enjoy the main character Tallitha, a wonderfully strong female character with a rebellious spirit and a taste for adventure! It definitely follows in the footsteps of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ for fiction that’s not afraid to introduce a little darkness into the story, making it a good read for adults as well.

Accompanied by the superb illustrations, this is a book that will fire the imagination and leave you wondering what’s next in store for Tallitha and the family of Winderling Spires…

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Posted in Best Children's Fiction, books for 9-14 year olds, Magical Adventure, Teen Fiction, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)