Posts Tagged ‘Young adult’

The Morrow Secrets Trilogy Box Set

November 9th, 2015

Morrow-secrets-2The Morrow Secrets Trilogy has now been produced in a beautiful box set for Christmas. Get all three of Tallitha’s adventures in a new dark, spooky binding.

Box set available on Groupon for £9.98 for a limited time only

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

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)

The Shadow of the Swarm: Book 2 in The Morrow Secrets Trilogy

July 6th, 2014
The Shadow of the Swarm

The Shadow of the Swarm

5 Stars! Another cracking story from Susan, (Amazon)

I loved the first book and couldn’t wait for this one, I was not disappointed. It is just as intriguing, sinister and riveting as it’s predecessor. The characters are excellent. I like the way Tallitha is plucky but can also feel nervous…it’s much more real than a hero who is all gung-ho and brave. The shroves repulse me….can’t imagine why anyone would have them in the same house…I can smell them from the description….yuck! It is well written and holds ones interest all the time.

As with the prequel Susan leaves us with a cliff hanger of an ending…now we have a year to wait for the final book….that is my only criticism!


Caedryl, Lapis & Muprid5 Stars! A brilliant sequel! (Amazon)

…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 which are unlike anything I’ve encountered before – spooky gothic indeed. Read it!..

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Fantasy Trilogy, Paranormal, The Morrow Secrets, The Shadow of the Swarm, Witches | 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)

Author Blog Interview: The Morrow Secrets Trilogy: Gothic Fantasy Trilogy

May 22nd, 2014

Interview with Susan McNally (for Melissa Holden)Caedryl, Lapis & Muprid


What got you into writing?


It was a complete moment of inspiration when a number of ideas that had been mulling around in my head came together and I just had to start writing. I am a bookworm and like many people thought I might write a book one day but it was only when I began writing The Morrow Secrets that I became absolutely gripped. I had found my genre – Gothic fantasy or Young Adult fiction, I discovered I loved creating mysterious, fantasy worlds. Having done that and cut my teeth on fantasy, I do think at some point I will move on to horror or more adult fantasy.

As a child I loved getting lost in make-believe worlds such as the Narnia books, The Hobbit and The Borrowers by Mary Norton.

I wanted to recreate that excitement as a writer – the joy of not being able to put a book down, so that the reader was desperate to turn the page and find out what was happening next.The Spider's Turret



What’s your favourite book and why?


That’s a difficult question as there are so many books I love for very different reasons. Can I have three books?


Then I would choose Dracula for its creepy atmosphere and the wonderful way Bram Stoker describes the Count and his castle. I first read it in my late teens under the blankets at university. It was so scary, one night I slept with the light on!


Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – what a story and what a storyteller! A master of characterization and a genius at naming his characters for example Uriah Heep in David Copperfield, immediately the reader knows that Uriah is going to be underhanded and sneaky just from his name.


Finally Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, which I first read at 15. I was transported into a dark, world with menacing characters, a love story and one without a happy ending. Also I am from North Yorkshire so I identified with the descriptions of landscape and the desolate moors.


CaveWhat’s your writing routine?


To be honest I don’t really have a routine although I write most days. I like writing late at night and sometimes into the wee small hours and I guess for my dark narrative this works.



Tell me about The Morrow Secrets?An Early Drawing of a Shrove


It’s a fantasy adventure about a headstrong girl called Tallitha who is determined to unearth the dark secrets of her sinister Morrow family. From the moment you step into Tallitha’s mysterious world and the weird old house of Winderling Spires the story takes you on a rollercoaster, an epic adventure across dangerous lands, full of eccentric characters with scary twists and turns. It’s a story of intrigue, betrayal and magic.


The book has 20 5* Star Reviews on Amazon and 27 5* Star Reviews on Goodreads


The second book, The Shadow of the Swarm has just been published and both books are available on Amazon.


The third book in the trilogy will be published in 2015.


You write YA Fantasy: what got you into this genre, and why do you love writing it?

As soon as I began writing my fantasy adventure story everything just fell into place. I find the experience of creating the make-believe worlds so fascinating and whenever I write it is like embarking on a fantastic journey, as you never know where you will end up. Its wonderful to be able to make up stories and have people read them and in many ways it’s like being a child again capturing the wonder and excitement of fairy stories and magic. That’s the best bit.

I love fantasy stories and movies. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are all time favourites and currently I am into Game of Thrones. Of course I love the Harry Potter movies and The Hunger Games. More in the Gothic genre I thoroughly enjoyed The Turn of the Screw by Henry James and the Hammer House of Horror movies.


The castle at Hellstone TorsWhat inspired your Trilogy, “The Morrow Secrets”?


It was a combination of ideas – I have always been fascinated with dark spooky houses, with family history and the influence that past generations have on the present and also that families sometimes have secrets they keep from their children. So it was all these things that came together. I began imagining what it would be like to be a girl, caught in the web of her strange family with a mysterious past; a curious girl who couldn’t leave the past alone, who was headstrong and determined to embark on a dangerous quest and that was the kernel that started the book. I also added in the supernatural, a bit of magic, peculiar creatures and an epic journey across dangerous lands.


I can trace the idea for The Morrow Secrets to when I saw a children’s book illustration and it reminded me of how I loved reading about make-believe worlds as a child. I had this intense desire to recreate the wonderful excitement of reading a magical fantasy adventure story. I also wanted a strong female character as the lead and so Tallitha came into being.


Much GrovellI have always loved horror films and scary books, big rambling houses with secrets to unearth. I didn’t intend to write Gothic fantasy, the book just wrote itself. Once I had decided on the setting and some of the characters the story just tumbled out, it was a very odd experience looking back.


I watched a Stephen King “You Tube” interview recently and he said virtually the same. That is what is odd about it – do writers all have this inexplicable experience where they leave their present world in their imagination and enter another one? The only way I can describe it is that there is a real joy in engaging in this creative process – I sit down at my desk, read over the last chapter and bingo more of the story pours out… the characters take over – it is a bit like magic.

As a writer I rarely plot story lines, I let them evolve.

As a series author, do you find it hard to keep the story fresh? What tips can you give aspiring authors about writing a series?

 When I started writing the first book I only vaguely thought it would be a trilogy, but I didn’t focus on that at all, it would have been too daunting a task to envisage writing nearly 300,000 words!

As a series author, or indeed any author you have to be gripped by your story, if you’re not, believe me the process of writing a book is just too hard. So I love my story and I have been compelled to write it, it is almost like an addiction when you’re so deeply into it you can’t wait to start writing again the next day. I can imagine my characters in any situation and I know their personality and how they will react to different events. One of my writing tips is to get to know your characters and what they will do… When you begin thinking about them before going to sleep and when you wake up in the morning … you’re there!

You have to write the book you want to read.

Carry a notebook and jot ideas down when you have them,

Another tip would be to stop writing each day when you know where the plot is heading – have a few ideas jotted down for the next writing session. You may not use them but they will be a prompt to get going again.


I haven’t suffered from “writer’s block”. I have this mantra… just get the story down, no matter how rough and then you can go back and refine it later. No one ever wrote a great first draft so never give up.

There are 20 Gothic illustrations in The Morrow Secrets and in the second book in the trilogy The Shadow of the Swarm.

I get some of my inspiration from movie stills, imagining scenes in a film when I write – so I can see my characters acting their parts. I also get inspiration from the visual arts, photographs, paintings and drawings so I was keen to have my characters illustrated. You can find these illustrations on my website.

They are by the artist and illustrator Luke Spooner at


Are your friends and family supportive of your writing career?

 Another great question! My husband is a creative person and is a composer and early on he gave me some good advice…”sometimes you have to kill of your favourite children”. That sounds terrible but what he meant was that you have to be ruthless with yourself and edit large chunks (characters) out of your book.

He also said don’t read reviews!

My children have been very supportive and are my biggest fans! They are the first to have read my books along with my husband and have given me some great feedback including what I should change.

On the down side there are some people who you imagine will be supportive and who aren’t.


The Shadow of the Swarm CoverHow do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life?


I am self-employed so I have the luxury of deciding when to write and when to work on my other career.



Are you self-published or with an agent?

 I have a publisher called Sweet Cherry Publishing who specialise in YA and children’s trilogies and box sets. They have been fantastically supportive and I have done a lot of events with them. Last week I went to The London Book Fair which was amazing and I have done a number of book signings and school events.

I have also designed and led Creative Writing Workshops with young people that were fantastic fun. Seeing these participants fired up about writing their own stories was very inspirational.

How do you keep motivated?

 You have to love writing otherwise it’s too difficult and I believe as a writer you have to love reading. Read lots of different authors from many genres and notice how they use dialogue and employ their craft. Watch movies and notice how directors and scriptwriters build suspense, dialogue and tension. I love the visual arts and can be motivated through art, cinema, photographs as well as the written word.

You have to treat professional writing as a job. I used the word “professional” there on purpose. Get up every day, sit down and start to write and believe me if you have writing in your blood you will write. Don’t wait for the mythical “inspiration” to occur, you have to create it. Sometimes you will write rubbish and other times the words will just flow out of you which is an amazing feeling when you get your strange imaginings down on paper just the way you want it.



Amazon Books

THE SHADOW OF THE SWARM – Book 2 in ‪@MorrowSecrets Trilogy ‪ 



Radio Interview

Writing tips for new and aspiring authors





Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in The Morrow Secrets | Comments (0)

5* Review for The Shadow of the Swarm (Book 2 The Morrow Secrets Trilogy)

May 2nd, 2014

5* Review for The Shadow of the Swarm on Amazon Caedryl, Lapis & Muprid

   5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant sequel!, 2 May 2014
This review is from: The 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 which are unlike anything I’ve encountered before – spooky gothic indeed. Read it!The Shadow of the Swarm CoverThe Shadow and the Swarm Jacket


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

The Second Book in The Morrow Secrets Trilogy – The Shadow of the Swarm

December 10th, 2013

The Shadow of the Swarm is the second book in The Morrow Secrets Trilogy to be published in March 2014.

Available to pre-order on Amazon

What will Tallitha do next?

How will she escape from the sinister castle at Hellstone Tors and free herself from the grip of the Morrow Swarm?

Will she ever see Winderling Spires again?

Grand Witches, Hellstone Shroves, evil relatives, strange creatures abound in the second book in Tallitha Mouldson’s exciting adventures.

The Shadow of the Swarm

The Shadow of the Swarm

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

Great Reviews for Spooky Gothic Trilogy ‘The Morrow Secrets’!

November 18th, 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars

Spectacular Fantasy, 16 Nov 2013

Mumma R

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

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.


Another 5* Review on Amazon

The Black Hound in Ragging Brows Forest

The Black Hound in Ragging Brows Forest

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!


Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | 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

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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)