Hi Shani! Clearly you enjoy writing about the supernatural – what made you choose ghosts and hauntings as your genre?
I do indeed, Sarah! I’ve had a lifelong interest in the paranormal and yes, like most people, I’ve had ghostly encounters in my time. When I was a child I was on a family holiday in Cornwall and had wondered off round the coast to a lonely cove, playing to my heart’s content when I looked up and noticed the tide had come racing in – I was cut off. I couldn’t swim and so climbed up on a rock to keep out of the water, there was literally no one else around so I was very scared. Perched on this rock, I was getting very scared when I noticed movement behind me and a man and woman appeared. They were elderly and she had a tweed skirt suit on, not the usual attire for a beach. Gently they started talking to me, soothing me, telling me to keep calm and all the while the water was rushing in, covering my legs, and getting higher. The next thing a lifeboat came whizzing round the corner and I was rescued – just me. It was years later I asked my mum what had happened to the old man and women (she’d been on the lifeboat too) and, of course, they weren’t there – no one was…
I know you have undertaken some scary research in the name of art…what was the most scary and why?
Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me references a lot of real life occultists. The work of Dion Fortune and Alexandra Neel-David is fascinating; they erred on the side of white magic. Researching Aleister Crowley, however, was different. Known as The Beast, he delved deeply into Satanism and I felt very uncomfortable with some of the information I unearthed about him. I have to stress, I’m not a horror writer as such (although some may disagree!), I’m a paranormal writer and, on a personal level, there are some occult subjects I like to steer clear off. Whilst researching him I took to wearing my tourmaline necklace, a stone renowned for psychic protection.
Do you believe in the afterlife and have you had any personal encounters with the ‘other side’?
I do believe in the afterlife and have had several more encounters with the ‘other side’ besides the story I’ve already related. My mum also had a strong interest in the occult (in an intellectual rather than practising sense I hesitate to add!) and so I’ve grown up with her discussing the whys and wherefores of the subject. To me, it simply makes sense that there is a spiritual world as well as a material world and that sometimes the veil between them is thin.
44, Gilmore Street is the third book in your Psychic Series…can you tell us a bit more about it?
All the Psychic Surveys books deal with a particular theme and in Book Three it’s reincarnation. Ruby meets Elisha Grey, who is tuning into a past life that’s frightening her. Ruby isn’t keen to get involved because she is so busy at that moment she doesn’t need to diversify – reincarnation is not her specialist field. Also, there’s the on-going case of 44 Gilmore Street to deal with – the spirit causing trouble there is very territorial and growing increasingly violent. The case is drawing public attention – negative public attention – adding to the strain. Elisha, however, is adamant that Ruby helps her…
Who are your favourite authors and what genre do you like to read for personal relaxation?
My favourite authors are Stephen King, James Herbert, Dean Koontz, Susan Hill, Shirley Jackson, and you, Sarah! Although your books tend to scare the heck out of me!!! I love the paranormal genre most of all but not horror that’s gratuitous, it has to be intelligent horror that’s been well researched. Shirley Jackson is a real inspiration, her classic novel The Haunting of Hill House is a real lesson in less is more – something I’m trying to incorporate in future writing.
And finally – what’s next? I happen to know you have quite a lot of exciting new projects lined up! Where can we find out and keep track of what’s up and coming?
Well, apart from the launch of Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street on Friday 27th May, I’m also working on the first book in a new series: This Haunted World Book One: The Venetian. It’s a series of books not linked by characters but by locations – they’re all going to be set in and around the world’s most haunted places! First up in The Venetian is Venice and the nearby island of Poveglia in the Venetian Lagoon – the former is the ‘world’s most haunted city’ and the latter, ‘the world’s most haunted island.’ The books will mix fact with fiction and I’m really excited about writing them. The Venetian has been read by several beta readers already and received great feedback – I’m planning on a late summer release for that. After that, it’s a Christmas ghost story and then I’ve three more in the PS series to write, interspersed with adding to the This Haunted World collection.
I’m very active on social media so come along and say hi, it’d be great to hear from you.
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Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street