Hello. I’m grateful to Sue for offering me this space on her blog to tell you about my forthcoming book , Paranormal Warwickshire, which will be published by Amberley Publishing on 15th November this year.
As with all stories, there are many byways and twists and turns in the tale of how I came to write Paranormal Warwickshire.
I began a number of years ago by visiting and loving various places within a car journey of where I live in Warwick, and by writing blog posts about them. Near my home may be found some of England’s most famous destinations: the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Shakespeare properties at Stratford-upon Avon, and the two great castles at Kenilworth and Warwick: all of them powerful places to visit, for someone seeking spiritual and historical inspiration.
I wrote these posts under the category Places of Inspiration. Every one of these places is special. For me, they all have strong spiritual resonance which is what first drew me to them, and what made me return again and again. They arouse all sorts of emotions because they have stories attached to them. They made me feel I want to go back again and again. Because I feel so strongly about them, they cry out for me to write about them: Stoneleigh Abbey, Guy’s Cliffe in Warwick, Coughton Court, Baddesley Clinton and many others.
One day, in my writing group, an author friend suggested I put all those blog posts together into a book. She suggested I confine myself to Warwickshire and include photos. I decided to call it Spirit of Warwickshire and to give it a theme based on Shakespeare’s ghosts and spirits. So each chapter begins with a quote from Shakespeare which resonates with how I feel about the place. I read extracts to my fellow authors at a later meeting of the group, and another member said she wanted more history in my book. So I researched and included that. Subsequently she suggested three history publishers for me to try. I approached all three, and Amberley came back to me and said they were interested in it for their Paranormal series.
I thought, OK, I can do that, I’ve always loved ghost stories, and all the places I’ve written about have several such stories attached to them.
I wrote a proposal which was accepted at their publishing meeting, and before long, found myself signing a contract.
So I went round again, visiting all my special places, going on ghost walks and tours, having afternoon tea in haunted tea rooms, interviewing custodians and paranormal investigators, listening to stories, recording and transcribing them – and taking photos of each location. I loved the research. And now I was including several everyday places – in Leamington Spa, Nuneaton and Rugby. Ghosts don’t confine themselves to grand, stately residences. Some of my stories take us to unsettling corners in old shops, terraced houses, pubs and railway stations.
And finally, ghost stories are often about ordinary people. Forget the ghosts of Anne Boleyn and Sir this and Lord that. A lot of ghost stories turn out, after research, to have emerged from the lives and passions and tragedies and longings and deaths of people like us, people about whom we would have known nothing if the paranormal event had not alerted our interest today and prompted us to research.
About the Author
I was born and brought up in Orpington, Kent, and have loved writing stories most of my life; inspired by the adventure stories of Enid Blyton, I started writing adventure stories at the age of seven.
I studied English Literature at Lancaster University, and my first permanent job was as a production secretary with the BBC. Later I lived for nearly five years in Australia before returning to the UK. I’ve now settled in Warwick with my husband David and son Jamie, and my daughter Abigail is studying for a master’s degree at university in Australia.
My previous published books include a duology of paranormal / psychological mystery novels, Mystical Circles and A Passionate Spirit, followed by a short writers’ guide called Perilous Path: A Writing Journey.
I’m currently completing another duology of novels, this time in the gothic magical-realist genre, set in different English locations: London and Stratford-upon-Avon. Their titles are Director’s Cut and Standing Ovation.
Find and Follow S.C. Skillman
Also by S. C. Skillman
Click the titles or images to go to Amazon
How do you find courage and motivation when your novel sinks in the middle?
How do you stay focused as a writer through success and disappointment?
How can great artists, musicians and psychologists give you inspiration?
You’ll find the answers to these questions and many others in this book. SC Skillman offers valuable insight into the faith and hope that is vital for one who walks the perilous path into the ‘promised land’ of the writing profession.
Every chapter is an article previously published on the author’s blog Inside the Mind of a Writer, in answer to FAQs aspiring writers type into search engines.
It’s a dream come true for 25 year old Zoe when she and her new husband, unconventional priest Theo, move to the Cotswold hills. But fearsome dreams about a young girl running for her life disturb Zoe and she can’t shake off the idea that a child’s life is in danger…and so is hers. When two unexpected guests arrive, James and Natasha, Zoe’s friend Alice immediately senses something amiss with them – and particularly Natasha; but no-one except Zoe agrees with her. Natasha embarks on a series of mysterious healings which astonish other guests and convince them that she is a miracle worker. But Zoe can’t abandon her feelings of unease. Then a series of disturbing events hits the centre; Zoe fears that Theo has been unfaithful to her, and Theo falls into severe depression for which Zoe believes Natasha to be responsible. When Zoe confronts her she is completely unprepared for the terror she is about to face. Zoe will need more than the loyalty and strength of Alice to survive the frightening paranormal forces that are unleashed against her…A Passionate Spirit is a fast-paced and thrilling novel that will keep readers in suspense throughout. Inspired by Susan Howatch and Barbara Erskine, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy paranormal thrillers.
“Hi, you in crowded, stressed old London from me in the peaceful, perfect Cotswolds. Massive change of plan. I’m in love. Craig’s gorgeous, sexy, intelligent. Paradise here. Staying forever.”
Juliet, concerned that her younger sister has fallen in love with the charismatic Craig, leader of the Wheel of Love, sets off for the Cotswolds to investigate, fearful that Zoe has become entangled with a religious cult.
She arrives at Craig’s community hoping to rescue Zoe. But intrigues, liaisons and relationships flare and flourish or fizzle out quickly within this close circle, and despite her reservations, Juliet is drawn into the Wheel of Love… with completely unforeseen consequences.
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