I’ve just published my latest book The Black Vaults Experiment.
Here’s the blurb –
‘Renovation work at a large Victorian pub called the Black Vaults is halted as the builders walk out after saying that the pub is haunted. In desperation the owners call in Martin Jorgensen, a young Professor of Anomalistic Psychology, who sees this as a chance to test his pet theory. Together with his assistant and four student volunteers he spends two nights at the pub as part of an experiment in the hope that he’ll be able to record some real paranormal activity. However they get far more than they bargained for as the Black Vaults is full of frightening surprises and, sooner or later, they will all have to face down their own ghosts. It will be an experience that will change all of their lives forever.’
This has evolved from what was originally a short story for my book 13 Ghosts of Winter into a stand-alone book and now into the first of a series.
Where did the idea come from?
The story follows a long tradition of ghost and horror stories in which the characters go looking for the very things that would cause most of us to run the other way. In this case I’d guess that a huge dollop of inspiration came from The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, a truly remarkable and literary ghost story. In 1963 the great director Robert Wise made it into The Haunting, a compelling and very scary movie, scary even though you don’t really see anything, or perhaps because of it. In the movie you’re left to wonder if there really are any ghosts or if the main character has gone mad. (Please do not confuse this movie with the 1999 version which is truly awful!).
In the story a group of volunteers go to a haunted house as part of an experiment and a lot of very strange things happen…well I’d guess that you get the idea. In my version, which is hopefully very different to Shirley Jackson’s story, a psychology professor gets some of his students to volunteer to go on a two night ‘ghost hunt’ but what they find is beyond all their expectations. I won’t say more than that. The wonderful thing about the premise is that you’ve basically got one setting with a small number of characters who are basically being stress tested, so it makes it possible to explore the characters and find out what makes them tick.
Why make it a series?
As I got towards the end of the book I realised that I’d really gotten to like the characters and, not only that, but the central premise is one that I could explore much more deeply and in different settings. I therefore tacked a short piece on to the end of the story which hopefully sets it up nicely for the next book. I’ve got an idea what the next book might be about but it’s still quite vague so I guess that I’ll return to my Mac Maguire books and let the idea marinate for a while.
Is it scary?
Well I hope that parts of it are a bit scary but that’s not the principal aim in writing the book. One of my readers called it ‘unsettling’ rather than ‘scary’ and I like ‘unsettling’ a lot more to be honest as it implies that the story moved the reader out of their comfort zone a little. While it’s definitely got all the elements that go into the ghost or horror paradigm I also hope that the story will make the reader think a little too.
As always let me know what you think by either leaving a review on Amazon or contacting me directly at email@example.com