Be Warned: These are the scribblings of a writer unruly, unsupervised, and largely unrepentant

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Favourite Season

Autumn happens to be my favourite time of year. I love the leaves changing, and crisp, misty mornings with the scent of wood fires in the air. The heat of summer is usually too oppressive for me, so I look forward to the cooling off, rainy mornings, apple donuts and cozy blankets. I know I'll soon be complaining of too much snow and being cold to the bone, but for now I can enjoy the transition as I rake up leaves and start thinking about Christmas plans.

Halloween is also something I look forward to. When I grew up in England, we didn't dress up and troll the streets for candy. November the 5th -- Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night -- was a bigger event for us, because we had fireworks and jacket potatoes on the horizon. (Funny how jacket potatoes with butter were considered such a treat back then). But now living in the US I get out my Halloween decorations, stock up on "Trick or Treat" candy and get into the spirit of things. Halloween, for me, has become a sort of combination Guy Fawkes and All-Hallow's Eve, since I don't get to enjoy November 5th anymore.

This is the time of year, of course, for scary stories.

When I first started writing, when I was very young, my first genre was horror. Not sure how I got to romance from there! Anyway, horror was my first love, but not the "slasher" type of horror. I like the slow-building, menacing type that gets inside your brain and leaves chills. Something that makes you think. And wonder.

I love the spooky movies on TV -- especially the old ones with Vincent Price. Few things can beat curling up on the couch with hot chocolate to watch "The Pit and the Pendulum" or "House of Usher" (the original 1960 version). I know they're a bit hokie now, but I still enjoy them far more than most new stuff. I have to say the more recent "horror" movies leave me less than impressed. I don't think anything has really scared me since Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining". These days -- and now I sound old -- there seems to be too much reliance on CGI and loud bangs. That actually takes all the suspense out for me. I prefer being unsettled in a more subtle, thoughtful way.

Maybe I have a bit of a morbid streak -- I definitely have a dark sense of humor -- because I particularly love the work of Edward Gorey. That's the quiet sort of menace that suits me.

All these things, I suppose, somehow get mixed together and ferment inside me like a big pot of witches brew. Once in a while, a bubble of inspiration rises to the top and I have another story to write, one with a slightly darker edge. That's what happened with SOULS DRYFT and PUMPYMUCKLES. It also happened with the next book on its way THE MUTINOUS CONTEMPLATIONS Of GEMMA GROOT.

Once in a while, I like to write something a bit different to light-hearted romances. I think it's refreshing for me - a palate cleanser, perhaps? And it feels good to stretch myself in another direction for a while, just to stop my mind from getting stuck in a rut.

I hope you enjoy all my stories, the merry romances AND the slightly darker sort.

To celebrate the season of Halloween, Guy Fawkes, toffee apples and things that go bump in the night, I'm giving away two signed paperback copies of PUMPYMUCKLES.

If you'd like to enter your name to win, please go to my FACEBOOK page and let me know your favourite thing about autumn.

Thanks for reading!


(Illustrations by Edward Gorey)

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