What do you do when a whole town is haunted?
In 1899, in the North Yorkshire market town of Thorpe Morton, a tragedy occurred; 59 people died at the market hall whilst celebrating Christmas Eve, many of them children. One hundred years on and the spirits of the deceased are restless still, ‘haunting’ the community, refusing to let them forget.
In 1999, psychic investigators Theo Lawson and Ness Patterson are called in to help, sensing immediately on arrival how weighed down the town is. Quickly they discover there’s no safe haven. The past taints everything.
Hurtling towards the anniversary as well as a new millennium, their aim is to move the spirits on, to cleanse the atmosphere so everyone – the living and the dead – can start again. But the spirits prove resistant and soon Theo and Ness are caught up in battle, fighting against something that knows their deepest fears and can twist them in the most dangerous of ways.
They’ll need all their courage to succeed and the help of a little girl too – a spirit who didn’t die at the hall, who shouldn’t even be there…
Two psychic investigators, Theo and Ness, from Sussex, are called to a small village near Scarborough to solve a mystery, just before Christmas. The North Yorkshire market town of Thorpe Morton has been a sad place to live since Christmas 1899, when tragic events occurred in the village. Theo and Ness must find a way of helping the community recover their Christmas cheer.
Our Psychics meet plenty of spirits on their arrival, at the Market Hall where it all happened, in people’s homes, and in their guesthouse, as the two brave sleuths delve into the world of tortured and aggressive spirits. The inhabitants had become accustomed to the unfriendly and mischievous ghosts, but the arrival of the psychics, makes matters worse, seeming to anger the ghosts even more.
The characters, the village, and the events are so well drawn that we feel we’re actually there, which makes it more ‘scary’! I enjoyed the bond, which grew between the two women, and helped them overcome their own personal traumas and issues, as well as helping the ghosts in the town move on, and leave the world of the living, so that the townspeople could live happier and healthier lives.
The social condition of the workers, especially miners, and their struggle for fairer wages and working conditions is at the heart of the discontent of the original tragedy, because it was only the poorer people who died.
The two psychics used their abilities to discover what really happened, as the living are no longer a reliable source of information. They need to find out why the souls are trapped and angry, and why the village has been living in torment and sadness ever since.
Especially for lovers of scary, supernatural tales with happy endings.
This was a short introduction to Shani’s work, I’m looking forward to reading more of Shani’s ghost stories this winter.
I asked Shani to take part in my weekly Author Spotlight so we can all get to know her and her work.
You’ve written three books of paranormal fiction, including International Amazon Bestseller, Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall, Psychic Surveys Book Two: Rise to Me, and your newest is Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story – the prequel to the Psychic Surveys series, which I’ve just reviewed. You’ve also written Jessamine, an atmospheric psychological romance set in the Highlands of Scotland and described as a ‘Wuthering Heights for the 21st century.’ Where does your interest in the paranormal stem from?
The paranormal has always been my preferred genre, right from a child I’ve been interested in it and would tend to prefer darker fairy tales as opposed to lighter ones. Ruth Manning-Saunders, an author no longer in print, used to take traditional fairy tales and twist them into much darker stories, I was addicted to her books and from thereon in that interest grew both in terms of literature and film. As a teen I devoured Stephen King’s books, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz and James Herbert. As an adult the lack of good ghost stories dismayed me, which is why I started writing them!
When someone says to you, ‘I don’t believe in ghosts.’ What’s your reply?
Lucky you! Seriously, that’s fine, it doesn’t bother me, as people are entitled to believe what they like. But… once you get talking about ghosts, even those who deny the existence of anything paranormal usually say ‘oh hang on, there was that time…’ and then they go away not quite as cynical as before. I ‘think’ I’ve seen ghosts, certainly I’ve had some experiences that could be considered paranormal but they were mainly as a child, as an adult I think we naturally tend to close off to the spiritual world as the material world just takes up so much of our time and effort.
Are your novels based on real events or people or are they purely imaginary?
I like to mix fact with fiction in all my books and so real events are included, either those I’ve experienced personally or those told to me by friends and friends of friends. The Haunting of Highdown Hall is based on a story told to me by a friend of a friend, about a house he inherited that used to be the home of a famous film star. She died there and her bedroom was kept thereafter as a shrine. Every time he walked into it he had to leave, there was so much anger and negativity, it was impossible to linger let alone think about redecorating! He had the whole place exorcised and everything was fine after that but it gets the imagination going: was she still there, why was she still there, what was preventing her from moving on? And so the first book in the Psychic Surveys was born.
Which of your novels would you recommend readers to start reading first? And why?
(This one’s for me really! I have several of your novels on my kindle to read next, and I was wondering if Jessamine or The Haunting of Highdown Hall!)
Thank you so much for reading Eve and your review of it. Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story is the prequel to the Psychic Surveys series but can be read as a standalone. I’d recommend reading Psychic Surveys Book One: The Haunting of Highdown Hall next, which is not a horror but a paranormal mystery. Although be warned, the sequel, Rise to Me, gets darker, much darker! Jessamine is a stand-alone novel set in the Highlands of Scotland and is essential a romance with a touch of the supernatural. Jessamine is actually my favourite of all the novels I’ve written and, as you do with your wonderful Eyre Hall series, I drew inspiration from the Bronte sisters whilst writing it. The fact that some readers have said it puts them in mind of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights whilst reading it (in tone rather than story) is a huge compliment.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just sent off Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street off to my publisher so I’m waiting for the editing process to begin on that. Also, I’ve just written the first draft of The Venetian, which is Book One in the ‘This Haunted World’ series. This new series will be a set of stand-alone novels taking place in and around the world’s most haunted locations and the first is set in and around Venice as well as the island of Poveglia, in the Venetian lagoon, an island with a shocking history that dates back centuries. Like my Psychic Surveys books, they will be a mix of fact and fiction and what links them this time is not the characters but the haunted locations.
What would you like readers to know about you? Brief bio?
I live in Brighton with my husband, three kids and four cats – life is always hectic but in it I’ve made time to indulge my passion, which is novel writing, something that is rapidly becoming the day job! I’ve also been a freelance travel writer for many years, love eating, drinking and being merry as well as travelling the world to places haunted and not so haunted. Yep, even I need a break from the spooks sometimes!
How can readers find out more or contact you?
Where can readers buy your novels?
Thank you for visiting my blog, Shani. It’s great to meet an author who writes paranormal and ghost stories, so convincingly. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing the rest of your books by the fireplace in dark winter evenings 🙂