The titular Greyfriars Reformatory in my recent horror novel is one place you would never want to spend the night!
A lifelong horror fan, I have always been fascinated by haunted landscapes and creepy buildings. My childhood in the Midlands of England prepared me for my career as a horror writer and filmmaker with its abundance of spooky ruins and foggy canal paths.
I have since explored ancient sites all across the U.K. and Europe and my novels are inspired by these field trips into the uncanny, where the contemporary everyday rubs shoulders with the ancient and occult. Places become characters in their own right in my work and I think this list of bookscelebrates that.
I hope you find them as disturbing and thought-provoking as I have!
(And if you’re looking for similar reads, why not browse this book list featuring more titles set in psychiatric hospitals)
My blog post is about the importance of setting in my new horror novellas The Lilyth Mirror and The Lucifer Gate, both available now in The Daniel Gates Adventures Vol. 2 from Crossroad Press.
And when you’re done reading, be sure to peruse the other Halloween Haunts blog posts, which offer everything from author interviews and excerpts of new books, to writing advice and horror history – along with more great giveaways each day.
My thanks to the HWA (of which i am proud to be an Active Member) and Halloween Haunts editor Michele Brittany.
I met so many wonderful people, participated in and attended brilliant panels, signed a coffin load of books, and presented the World Premiere of my new movie The Stay. My first Stoker Awards Banquet was an unforgettable night, and I had the pleasure of sitting at the Samhain Horror table with several of my labelmates. I even sipped single malt whisky and chatted with the legendary Jack Ketchum with my partner in crime Aaron Dries. The after-parties went on into the wee hours of the morning and my suitcase was bursting with beautiful books as I flew the red eye back home to merry olde England.
But one thing I didn’t know about WHC2015 was that it had its own scary theme park ride, courtesy of the Marquis Marriott Atlanta.
Check out my clip below – a madcap descent into the vertiginous abyss straight down from the 30th floor into a watery, pebble-based demise. Now imagine doing that with a hangover. We’re on an express elevator to hell – goin’ down! Hold on to yer lungpipes!
I live in the UK, in the leafy county of Buckinghamshire, and (as anyone who has read my books will know) I derive a lot of inspiration from the local landscape. Eagle eyed readers familiar with my neck of the woods will spot my local Christmas tree plantation within the pages of ‘The Jack in the Green‘ and the dank passageways of Hellfire Caves in the third act of ‘The Lamplighters‘. I was out jogging this morning on the steep sylvan slopes of ‘The Lucifer Glass‘ and it reminded me how much inspiration I glean from the places I frequent (it also reminded me how out of shape I am after long hours behind the writing desk, but that’s perhaps another story).
It was Fathers’ Day here in Blightly a few weeks ago, and my family and I decided to pack a picnic and head out in the drizzle somewhere. As it was ‘my’ day I got to choose the destination, and so I opted for a place that has been something of a lifelong icon for me – Hampden House.
Hammer Films took (eek!) possession of the building in 1979 and made it the company’s base of operations until 1982. During that period, Hammer moved into telly and filmed several episodes of Hammer House of Horror and Hammer House of Mystery and Suspensein and around the building and environs.
As a youngster, I was raised on a strict diet of Hammer Horror movie double bills. Later, at the tender age of 11, it was the turn of the TV series to creep the hell out of me, especially the episode with the gnarly-fingernailed hitchhiker…and the werewolf episode complete with pregnant wolf-mother scoffing chopped liver as she drove to the obligatory house in the woods.
As we sat opposite the very house that appeared in those hallowed opening titles, eating our sandwiches in the rain I realized how lucky I am to have such amazing, inspiring places on my doorstep.
So join me in raising a plastic Thermos cup of lukewarm tea in a toast to a little inspiration.
It goes a long way.
What are the places that inspire you, and why? Comment below please!