Writerly Wednesday Welcomes Fiona Law. Better late than Thursday. Thanks Fiona for letting me do this!
St. Alba’s Jawbone Buy Link
The Hand of Glory Buy Link
I have recently had two other stories of a different genre accepted by Eternal Press.? (Saint Alba’s Jawbone and The Hand of Glory.) I am in my early forties and live just outside London.? Following a personal interest, I have done much research into paranormal activity (ghosts) as well as Paganism, ancient history and all things Celtic. I?read tarot cards?once a month at a local psychic fare and have a diploma in hypnotherapy and counselling. However, workwise, I have recently started temping as a corporate receptionist, which I really enjoy.? In my spare time I write fantasy fiction, about ghosts, Wiccan and Pagan related subjects for children and young adults and the adult market.?
Oswin’s Project is a ghost story set in a big old house in middle class Britain. Brimming with eccentric characters and humour, it explores family relationships as well as the emerging interest in psychic phenomenon. Gifted pupil, Oswin boards with his cousins in a spooky Edwardian house. His favorite cousin, Gemma, thinks it may be haunted, but her loud-mouthed, older sister, Beryl, insists that there is no such thing as ghosts! When Beryl talks of having Gemma sectioned under the mental health act, Oswin decides to prove her wrong, to prove that ghosts do exist and that their house is haunted. He builds some nifty gadgets and gets Gemma to keep an accurate recording of her ghostly experiences. Despite Beryl’s constant interfering, they begin to gather evidence that there is indeed paranormal activity in the house…
“Father, no! Ronnieeee!”
Beryl’s cries came from her window. “Father! You beast! What have you done to him? Hold on, Ronnie, I’m coming!”
Griswold blinked, glanced around then, staring upwards, declared, “I never touched him!” But Beryl’s face had gone from the window. She was thundering down the stairs.
Ronnie, sensing his attacker’s distraction, gathered what strength he could muster and zigzagged out of the front garden, down the street to the bus stop, praying every stumbling step of the way that a bus would be there.
Griswold let him go and rounded on his eldest daughter as she charged out of the front door, one arm outstretched and the other clutched at her breast. She would have followed Ronnie, but Griswold jumped in front of her, barring her way.
“I want to know what’s been going on here!” he snarled. “I come home a little early and I find everyone drunk as lords and some Casanova leaping from the windows. It’s a wonder you’ve all got your clothes on!”
Griswold looked about. Net curtains were twitching all down the street. “Get into the house!”
“No!” roared Beryl with melodramatic gusto. “I want the world to know, it’s not true…”
Griswold bundled her clumsily through the door. It was a difficult task, and took a good few moments of embarrassing struggle, because apart from Beryl’s large size, she kept trying to wedge her arms and legs in the doorway to prevent him from pushing her through. Oswin was called down to help prise her limbs off the door frame, one at a time, and shove them to her side. It was a bit like trying to pin down a flailing octopus. Eventually, she succumbed, and popped through the doorway like a fleshy cork, with Griswold falling indoors after her.
He slammed the door shut and leaned on it, panting, unaware that Oswin was tapping timidly from outside, asking to be let in. Beryl collapsed on her hands and knees, wailing and shaking her head despairingly.
Griswold goggled at her. “What has gotten into you?”
“I…I…love him!” Sobbing miserably, she sat up on her haunches. “But he doesn’t know. He only came here to help me study. Then he suddenly wanted to go…” She paused to wail pitifully for a moment. “But the door wouldn’t open. He thought it was locked and…he thought I had locked him in. But I didn’t, Father, I didn’t!”
“You lured a man into your room under false pretences of studying so that you could lock him in and have your way with him?!” Griswold spluttered.
“No! Father, how could you? Look at me!” She did look a sight, with red eyes, smudged mascara and dishevelled hair. “Look at me! Would I ever do such a terrible thing?”
Now that the question was put to him, Griswold had to admit. No. That was too farfetched to be true.
“I think he’d been drinking before he arrived,” covered Beryl, quickly regaining some of her posture and even finding the strength to stand up – unsteadily of course. “Yes, that’s it! I think he’d had a few, which is shocking really when he’s been invited to a study session, to have been consuming alcohol. But nevertheless, he had been drinking, which is why he overreacted when the door wouldn’t open. Yes, that’s it! He thought he was locked in and panicked. Oh, and he broke the curtain rail jumping out.”
“Why didn’t you study in the dining room?” asked Griswold, after a moment’s digestion.
“I…er…It’s a bit cold in that room, actually. Besides, I’m so used to studying in my room…”
“Well, next time, hold your study parties in the dining room!”
Having found a point where he could draw the matter to an official close and recuperate in peace, Griswold started forward to go to the front room and pour himself a large whisky.
Beryl pushed passed Gemma, who was sitting on the bottom of the stairs, and ran up to her room. Like Oswin, Gemma had gone unnoticed throughout this interview. She was scribbling something in her ghost diary.
“Time:5:03pm Date: 10th October. Incident: Beryl’s bedroom door locked/jammed. She did not lock it. I was not leaning on it. The door mysteriously unlocked/jammed moments later, when she opened it. She did not pause to unlock it and had no trouble in opening it.
Explanation: It may have been jammed but there has never been trouble like that with her door before. She would have made a fuss if she had a sticky door.”
Having finished her logging, Gemma got up and opened the front door to let in Oswin – who had given up knocking and was standing patiently on the doorstep with his arms folded.
“What a bleeding pantomime!” he growled and stomped past her up to his room.
Gemma hovered at the bottom of the stairs. The fancy dress party was only four weeks away and she still hadn’t had an official yes from Griswold. She had been planning to ask him afresh if she could go. This was not a good time but her impatience kept her in the hall. She found herself practising her latest dance routine, in little understated steps, counting with her breathing. “One…two…three…four….up…two…over…d-r-a-g…two…”
Someone brushed passed her. Absorbed in her routine, she glanced over her shoulder as she continued. Nothing. A rush of gooseflesh sent her skin crawling, as she knew instantly, certainly, that the ghost had rushed passed her. The contact, the rustle had been real. She knew, by the direction of the movement, the culprit had gone to the front room. As she looked up she should have seen whoever it was turning into the front room. But there was no one. Nothing. Just cold, icy stillness.
With a stifled cry, Gemma bounded up the stairs. Oswin was putting the final touches to the Ghost-O-Meter when she plunged into his room, her heart still thudding wildly.
“Oswin, I’ve just felt it. The ghost. On the stairs!”
1. In three days, all power will go off, everywhere for a very long time. What will you include in your author survival kit?
A pile of exercise books and some pens and pencils. I’ll also include my box of inspirations – it’s filled with cuttings and pictures. Plus I’ll include some Nag Champa incense and a candle which I like to burn when I write. I just hope I’ll manage without my music – I listen to music when I write.
2. Where did the idea for the work you are promoting arise?
If I remember correctly it all came from a writing exercise. I was in a writer’s group and as that week’s exercise we were all trying to enter a ‘write a sitcom’ competition. That’s when the characters and story idea first popped into my head. It took a lot of moulding and re-shaping to create the story as it is.
3. What do you like to read?
Folklore, fantasy and romance as well as some Young Adult fiction. I like Georgette Heyer too. I like something that makes me laugh too, like Terry Pratchet’s Discworld novels.
4. Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited?
Wales – I just love it there, I feel I fit perfectly. I feel different the moment I cross into Wales – I love the damp and the misty mornings and the grey skies – and when the sun does break through its brilliant. I love the stone and the valleys. There’s a bog there Cors Carrin I think it’s called and a walk on that at dawn is amazing – I find it all very exhilarating.
5. What is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about yourself?
I am the dish washer. I wash the dishes straight after we’ve eaten. I feel like I tidy up after the kids all the time. And they’re big now, it’s mad! I wish I could forget the laundry and hovering and just write selfishly until I’m done but I always remember to put the dinner on and bring the laundry in.
6. What scares you the most?
Driving. I hate driving. I’m afraid of crashing and being hooted at by angry drivers. I’d rather come home late at night on a bus and walk in the dark than drive. I’d rather let my kids get themselves around by bus than ferry them around.
From Sally – I tend to avoid driving, too. That double yellow line at 60 MPH just doesn’t seem wide enough. People get killed in cars everyday!
7. Tell us anything but keep it G rated.
It took me three years to get my driver’s licence. I pray to St Christopher to be with me when I drive – to give me the fortitude and courage, to keep a straight and clear path for me and to help me park when I get to my destination. The poor bloke’s got to be with me whenever I drive. He’s becoming real to me now, I can almost see him and I can definitely feel him. So I talk to him – we listen to James Blunt and Cat Stevens in the car. He’s a bit like a hairy biker – but not a loud sort. He’s quite laid back.
St. Alba’s Jawbone Buy Link
The Hand of Glory Buy Link
YA Paranormal comedy
Don’t touch anything sharp.