Posts Tagged ‘epic adventure story’

The Morrow Secrets is Compared to Tolkien’s Middle Earth

July 14th, 2014


Winderling Spires       5 Stars! A Great Story!13 July 2014 on Amazon UK

Tallitha Mouldson dreams of escaping her domineering Great Aunt and the confines of the east wing of Winderling Spires, a huge sprawling house in a land called Wycham Elva. She longs to explore the rest of the weird old house and uncover its secrets.

Then circumstances give her the chance to not only explore the house, but to go on a quest through dark mysterious places that will test her resolve to its limits.
Cave I loved reading this story, loved Winderling Spires and its cast of dark characters.I also enjoyed the journey to the even darker Hellstone Tors. The plot is good, the characters are great. The world that Susan Mcnally has created is comparable to Tolkiens Middle Earth in its depth and imagination. In fact this could well be Susan Mcnally’s ‘Hobbit’ that I can see leading on to much larger works. Five stars for this book, I do feel the story could have been longer, but that may be because I enjoyed it so much. Also I am not sure about the title, When thinking back to this story I think of Winderling Spires and If I had written it that would have been the title.

You will not want to put this book down and you will not want it to end.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

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!

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

The Morrow Secrets: More 5 Star Reviews for Gothic Fantasy

June 4th, 2014

The Black Hound5.0 out of 5 stars

Haunting gothic tale, 1 Jun 2014

This review is from: The Morrow Secrets (Book One: The Morrow Secrets Trilogy) (Paperback)

This haunting gothic tale about the Morrow family and the secret hidden within the family history is a book worth while reading. The main character Tallitha Morrow is a fearless, head strong girl that will not take no for an answer. Together with her little brother Tyaas she decides to unravel the family secret. In order to do this they embark on a magical, dark and dangerous journey through an underworld kingdom with strange and terrifying creatures.

Although the book is mainly written for young adults, anyone who likes a well written, imaginative and adventurous gothic tale will enjoy this book.

Caedryl, Lapis & Muprid5.0 out of 5 stars

A brilliant sequel! 2 May 2014

Shadow of the Swarm (Book 2: The Morrow Secrets Trilogy) (Hardcover)

This is the second of Susan McNally’s Morrow Secrets books – the first one came out last year – and it’s just as good as the first one. It’s centred around the same main character and she’s joined not only by lots of the other characters from the first book but by new ones too. They’re all brought brilliantly to life and have more fantastic adventures. I don’t want to give anything anyway but there are some new locations that are unlike anything I’ve encountered before – spooky gothic indeed. Read it!

5.0 out of 5 stars

The Entrance to Startling CavesA Fun Read for Everybody, May 31, 2014

This review is from: The Morrow Secrets Trilogy – Book 1 (ebook edition) (Kindle Edition)

There are many things to admire about Susan McNally’s book, “The Morrow Secrets,” which I picked up last week. First, I love that the protagonist is a strong female character with many dimensions to her personality. That’s something sorely lacking in speculative literature and I’m glad to see it addressed in McNally’s writing, which addresses this without coming across as heavy-handed. Second, I like that while this book seems especially geared towards YA readers, it has a “certain something” that makes it a good, fun read for everybody. In that sense, it reminds me of the Harry Potter books, though McNally’s story and writing style feel unique. I enjoyed the illustrations, as well, and I’m anxious to read more of McNally’s work!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Fantasy, Secrets, Mystery and Magic! Another 5* Review for The Morrow Secrets.

February 26th, 2014

Another 5 Star Review for The Morrow Secrets

I’ve waited so long to for a book that could take me back to the intricacies of my childhood. My prayers were answered when my daughter brought home ‘the Morrow Secrets’ from school… She told me it reminded her of the ‘his dark materials’ trilogy, while somewhat dismissive, I thought it was definitely worth a read… My thoughts?? I cannot recommend this book enough… absolutely gripping… Susan McNally has the ability to catapult the reader into the depths of their imagination… Can’t wait for book 2 and for those of you asking about a possible film… all I can say is I hope you’re right, a film adaptation of this, like the book, would be GREAT :))))The castle at Hellstone Tors

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Creepy | Comments (0)

Five Star Review for YA Fantasy Adventure

January 31st, 2014

The Morrow Secrets      Shrove Hole

***** 5.0 out of 5 stars

Great adventure




I loved this book from start to finish. It had everything, action, adventure, suspense and a great cliff hanger that has me eager for the book 2.

You are thrown in to the action from the start of the book and it flows continuaslly through the entire book.

The story mainly centers round young Tallitha who is heirbto the Morrow legacy and she don’t want to be and sets out for the true heir. She takes her younger brother along and meets a whole host of interesting and frightening creatures.

The world building was good and I could visualize the world perfectally.

There were some pleasant twists and the cliffhanger at the end keeps you wanting more.

This is a great book for adults as well as children who are looking for a little adventure.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

More 5* Reviews for The Morrow Secrets

December 5th, 2013

More 5* Reviews for The Morrow Secrets

NOW 15% off The Morrow Secrets Paperback on Amazon!The Black Hound

A great Christmas treat for 9 -15 year olds or those who love fantasy Gothic mysteries with spookiness, creepy houses and strange goings on…. Amazon



5* Can’t Wait For The Next Sequel!!!!!!!!!!, 15 Nov 2013

I could not stop reading it when I started, it should be made into a film, it would be great!

5* Thoroughly enjoyable Drew me in from the beginning. Was unable to put it down as I wanted to see what was going to happen next.

5* Spectacular Fantasy

I could not put this book down! It is Gorgmenghast meets Harry Potter, with a female heroine!

‪ …

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Magical 5 Star Reviews for The Morrow Secrets on Amazon and Goodreads!

November 20th, 2013


Here are some excerpts:

Can’t Wait For The Next Sequel!!!!!!!!!! …I could not stop reading it when I started, it should be made into a film, it would be great!

Thoroughly enjoyable, Drew me in from the beginning. Was unable to put it down as I wanted to see what was going to happen next.

A wonderful Gothic delight for all readers!

Book of the Year!!

Gothic Fun…I could not put the book down, I highly recommend people reading this!!!!…

Spectacular Fantasy – I could not put this book down, it was very consumable. It is Gorgmenghast meets Harry Potter, with a female heroine! McNally conjurs a beguiling world of marvellous characters and interesting lands. I recommend this book to any parents of preteens or young teens as a great addition to a christmas stocking. I bought the Kindle version and read it on my morning train ride, then walking down the street and I would find excuses to leave my desk to keep reading. I am excited to read what happens to Talitha next.

…A rip-roaring page-turner. Destined to be a modern classic from a brilliant new author. Can’t wait for the next instalment!…

…Susan McNally led me into a world of mystery and intrigue . The Characters came to life both in Susan’s description and the wonderful illustration’s. I couldn’t put the book down . Each Chapter led me into a unique adventure , and my only complaint was that it finished ! hurry up with the next book , I feel like someone has pressed the paused button on this adventure, which I want to fast forward at double speed !!..

Delightful Epic Fantasy/Alternate World for YA and Older – Author Susan McNally has an incredible imagination and has populated this alternate world with wonderful characters, not just the human ones, but all of the other species and creatures involved. Aimed at YA readers, older adult readers will enjoy it just as much, and I predict and recommend a wide audience…

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

A ROLLICKING READ FULL OF WIT AND WONDER!!!, 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!

…The attention to detail is amazing, as well-imagined and developed as anything in the Harry Potter series…

…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!!…

 Gripping Adventure Story! ….I loved this story from beginning to end! …Can’t wait for the second book!

Marlin on the dark stairs

A Dark Treat! – You know you’re onto a good book when you start reading …and find it’s been 4 hours since you did anything except read and you have work in the morning. 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.                                   

The Black Hound from Ragging Brows Forest

A Thrilling & Gripping Read!   

Brilliant – I liked this a lot! It’s set in a strange land – a bit gothic – with lots of weird creatures for the main characters to meet and overcome. Susan McNally’s a really good writer and the story’s full of fantasy, including a twist at the end which I did not see coming. The pictures are good too – they matched up with how I was imagining the characters. A really exciting read!

A Fantastic Gothic Story! 21 July 2012

I loved this story from the very beginning to the cliff hanging end. Great characters, a rambling spooky house and a plot with many twists and turns in a make believe world. Wonderful to have a strong heroine who fearlessly embarks on a gripping adventure, braving the unknown lands of Breedoor to unearth the dark family secrets. On the way she encounters many terrifying challenges and strange creatures. A great gothic tale that will appeal to older children and adults who enjoy fantasy and make believe.

Officially stolen from my brother! A cracking read. When I found my little brother reading this and had a look I had to get my own copy. Really well written and readable for the kids whilst still keeping me hanging on every word. Highly recommended!

A fantastic fable ...The novel scares, excites and challenges the reader and there are as many twists and turns in the novel as there are in the dark house, Winderling Spires. I can’t wait for the next episode.

 compelling and gripping Beautifully written with great attention to all the details which enable the reader to easily and completely imagine the house, its inhabitants and the world of the adventure that ensues. I found it compelling and gripping – and I’m an adult. Great fantasy adventure, wonderfully imaginative and a great plot. Like the Potter books this is an excellent read for children but also for adults. I can’t wait for the next one in the trilogy.

A thrilling read – A thrilling and original read, easily as good or better than other children’s novels of its genre. Would highly recommend for children (particularly girls) aged 9 to 13. Perfect those craving a magical read in place of Harry Potter. Can’t wait for the next read.



Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

The Morrow Secrets: Spooky New YA Thriller for Halloween! Magic and Mystery!

October 21st, 2013

Thanks to all who entered The Morrow Secrets Give-away. And to those who won one of the 5 free copies, ‘may the odds be ever in your favour!’

Don’t miss out – get a copy of The Morrow Secrets ‪#MorrowSecrets for Halloween! Hardback, paperback or e-book published by Sweet Cherry Publishing a specialist in YA and children’s book series.


Also for those of you who read my YA trilogy of darkness, secrets, spooky houses and evil beings I would really love to hear from you on twitter, FB or my blog. All links below.

Spooky new ‪#YA ‪#gothic trilogy! ‪@morrowsecrets

The Castle at Hellstone Tors

The Castle at Hellstone Tors




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

Spooky with Thrilling Twists and Turns! Gothic Fantasy The Morrow Secrets

October 15th, 2013

Great Review on Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing addictive and thrilling, October 14, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

Not since Harry Potter have I been unable to put a book down. Talitha is a wonderful heroine, strong, willful and adventurous. I loved the twists and turns in the plot, but it is the world of wild and wonderful creatures that Mcnally conjures that thrill the most. When do you publish the next one?

The Black Hound in Ragging Brows Forest

The Black Hound in Ragging Brows Forest

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Dark Gothic Fantasy, Fantasy Trilogy, Gothic Fiction, Supernatural, The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

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


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! ‪@morrowsecrets


‘Like’ Morrow Secrets on Facebook for more news about the release and to stay up to date!





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