Posts Tagged ‘dead spirits’

Gothic Fantasy Novel, The Morrow Secrets is Published! Perfect Spooky Thriller for Halloween

October 6th, 2013

The Morrow SecretsSusan McNally – The debut Gothic author

A childhood spent roaming the rugged landscapes of the Lake District and theYorkshire 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 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 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

‘I ADMIRE WOMEN WHO ARE COMPELLED TO DO THINGS THAT ARE OUTSIDE THE NORM’

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 of ‪#MorrowSecrets. Spooky new ‪#YA ‪#gothic trilogy! ow.ly/p9H6u ‪@morrowsecrets

 

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Posted in Best Children's Fiction, Dark Gothic Fantasy, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Gothic Influences, Supernatural, The Morrow Secrets, Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Gothic Fantasy of Mysterious Castles, Dark Creepy Corridors: A Spooky Delight!

September 24th, 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars A ROLLICKING READ FULL OF WIT AND WONDER!!!

Marlin Creeping on the Dark Stairs

By

Richard S. Friedman “Rick Friedman”  – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

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

“The Morrow Secrets’ is a high-fantasy gothic adventure story written for children in the 10 to 14 year age group but also enjoyed by adults who love delving into the world of mystery, suspense, imagination and make-believe. It is the first book in a series about Tallitha Mouldson, a headstrong girl caught up in the sinister web of her eccentric family”

A most magical and wonderful fantasy- while geared towards the YA crowd-The Morrow Secrets makes for a splendid read for all ages!
I was entranced from the very first page- the imaginary prowess of Susan McNally is to be greatly admired!

Characters and locations burst off the page with lusterous gusto- the prose is finely tuned and fast paced- and the plot never slows- Highly recommended for many reasons- wonderful writings style, unique characters and most certainly the first in what promises to be a most remarkable new Fantasy series!! Bravo Susan McNally!!

AN OFFICIAL JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB MUST READ

RICK FRIEDMAN
FOUNDER
THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOKCLUB

 

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A Gothic Fantasy of Spooky Delights!

September 3rd, 2013
Get your hands on a Copy of The Morrow Secrets –http://tinyurl.com/ohwg393
Photo: Get your hands on a Copy of The Morrow Secrets - http://tinyurl.com/ohwg393

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Posted in books for 9-14 year olds, Creepy, Dark Gothic Fantasy, Gothic Influences, Supernatural, Susan McNally, The Morrow Secrets, Witches | Comments (0)

The Morrow Secrets – With New Spooky Gothic Illustrations

August 29th, 2013

The Morrow Secrets out on Amazon

Order your copy at http://tinyurl.com/ohwg393
Photo: Order your copy at http://tinyurl.com/ohwg393

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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: Book One – Out in Paperback

August 22nd, 2013

The Morrow Secrets

First Book in the Gothic TrilogyThe Morrow Secrets

4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

The Morrow Secrets is out in paperback on 3rd October 2013 on Amazon with 20 fabulous illustrations.

To pre-order your copy click below:

The Morrow Secrets

ISBN-13: 978-1782260356

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Posted in books for 9-14 year olds, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Gothic Influences, Spooky, Supernatural, The Morrow Secrets, Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Paranormal Experiences; Secret Rooms in Gothic Houses

August 4th, 2013

So why did I begin writing stories about gothic houses, dark secret rooms and strange unexplained occurrences? Because odd things happened to me when I was younger. Perhaps as children we are in touch with inexplicable outside forces before we cross the threshold into adulthood… sensations and experiences that adults can no longer access.

Thinking about some of the great children’s fiction, Peter Pan by JM Barrie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._M._Barrie, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._S._Lewis and The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Garner, children in these wonderful stories accessed worlds where the grown-ups could not enter. Adults no longer believed in the possibility of magic or worlds beyond their own experience…. these worlds have always fascinated me, hence the creation of The Morrow Secrets.

Some of my early history is a little strange….

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

My mother had an aunt, who we called Auntie Annie and she would suddenly go into a trance without any warning. She was my grandmother’s closest friend and my mother called her my fairy godmother. The reason for this was that it took my mother many years to get pregnant and this strange woman predicted this. One day Annie was sitting in my grandmother’s house, her head fell backwards and she began to speak with someone else’s voice. She told my mother after 12 years of marriage that she could hear the feet of a small child running beside her… the next month my mother discovered she was pregnant with me.

My mother said that Annie used to frighten her when she went into trances, mostly because of her strange sounding voice and the fact she seemed to become someone else during the time she was in a trance. These stories influenced my creation of the character, Tallitha who is able to enter a trance-like state. Both Annie and Tallitha have clairvoyant powers and the trance-like journey is explored in The Morrow Secrets as Tallitha struggles to understand her destiny.

 

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Gothic Dreams…

September 8th, 2012

Oh I wish I’d had some Gothic dreams, please let me drift off to the land of nod… Last night I couldn’t sleep, plot lines from Book Two going round in my head, characters developing a life of their own, demanding to be in the story… not yet I cried!  Then more eternal questions…How to resolve the conundrums of book one ?

This week I had many good writing days. The words flowed and I became immersed in developing at least three great sub-plots in Book Two but the corollary to that is that I have to write at 1am! Not good for the body clock.. So it goes something like this..I go to bed, try to sleep, toss and turn and these pesky characters flood into my brain… ‘why not have me doing this?’ and ‘what about me?’ ‘ what about letting me back into the story, please, I could creep around Winderling Spires and do this…’! So much so that I have to get up and start writing, bleary eyed and unable to sleep until the wee hours.. Until I can decant my head of all the competing  ideas ( like wasps trapped in a jar buzzing round my brain) and put the errant characters back to bed. They are becoming like small naughty children, refusing to go to sleep until they get what they want!

The Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla in the Crewel Tower

The Weird Morrow Sisters, Edwina & Sybilla

Those weird Morrow sisters – Sybilla, Edwina, and Agatha have been particularly tiresome in the early hours.

How will they shape the story? Are they a bit witchy? What are their powers?

It’a my own fault. When I started writing, I sought the the wise words of the established writers, their tips about how to develop characters. Their advice was to imagine your characters in any situation, get to know them inside out, even the wicked ones… So of course I did just that and can’t get the blighters out of my head!

Now I’m beginning to understand how writers become obsessed, drive themselves mad… so I either harness the beast or go for a long walk on this beautiful nearly-autumnal day… and put those irritating sisters out of my head… for now. This must be the creative writing process – it has me in its thrall.

 

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Posted in Creative Writing Process, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, How to Write a Children's Novel, Susan McNally, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

The Supernatural : Paranormal Influences on Writing a Young Adult Gothic Trilogy

September 5th, 2012

As a young girl, not only did I adore the Addams Family (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Addams_Family), Bewitched

The Old Dark House of Secrets at Winderling Spires

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bewitched) and the Munsters ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Munsters) but as a teenager I got into the Hammer Dracula movies ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammer_Film_Productions)  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 macabre and the Gothic? I have already written about my great aunt who went into a trance and foretold my birth but my mother was also superstitious and this must have rubbed off on me. She would always cross a travelling woman’s hand with silver and take the clump of heather from her, having had her fortune told into the bargain. Looking back she was superstitious about many things… black cats, not walking under ladders and repeating a rhyme on the first day of every month… just for luck. I still carry around a tiny black cat that she gave to me. So I was brought up in a family where the women believed in things they couldn’t explain.

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. I opened my eyes.. I felt weightless and my friends had lifted me about 4 feet in the air. In the summer holidays, when I was 14 or 15 we started to play with a home made Ouija board… it was completely addictive and the results grew more ominous day by day until the outcomes were terrifying. Somehow we began to summon long dead spirits, strange words appeared on the makeshift board and when I looked these up in the dictionary we found that they were black magic voodoo curses. I began to be scared of going into the dining room when my friends weren’t around. One day the Ouija board was moving so quickly, the skies darkened and clattered with thunder and then the lights flickered in the room and we ran from the house screaming. We stopped playing with the spirits after that, I do believe we had contacted something beyond our understanding…

About 4 years later I was alone at my boyfriend’s house and I heard someone making a terrible noise downstairs – it sounded like someone dropping a cutlery drawer onto the stone kitchen floor. His mother, a very down-to-earth farmer’s wife later told me that there were spirits abroad, they were unhappy that the family was leaving the farm after six or seven generations of living there….Then a week later she whispered that something had hurt her arm, grabbing her violently in the dark passageway.. but no one was there, she too was all alone in the dark house.

So perhaps that’s the reason I am constantly drawn to the mysterious, the Gothic and the macabre and books with brilliant sinister twists and turns… a haunted house and weird eccentric characters always adds to the plot line as far as I’m concerned! When writing I become completely lost and absorbed  in Winderling Spires, imagining the secret rooms in the enormous creepy house, the evil shroves and all the dark, mysterious places that Tallitha and her brother are desperate to explore…but of course more is revealed about the macabre Morrow family than Tallitha imagines and so begins her epic journey of mystery and spellbinding paranormal adventure.

 

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Posted in Creative Writing Process, Dark Gothic Fantasy, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Gothic Influences, Magical Adventure, Supernatural, Susan McNally, Teen Fiction, The Morrow Secrets, Young Adult | Comments (0)

Ghostly Paranormal Experiences – Influences On My Writing

August 15th, 2012
 
 
 

As a young girl, not only did I adore the Addams Family (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Addams_Family), Bewitched (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bewitched) and the Munsters ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Munsters) but as a teenager I got into the Hammer Dracula movies ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammer_Film_Productions)  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.

The Strange Esmerelda

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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