Over to Samantha!
I’ve been spending time over in the Peak District, close to where I live in Sheffield, all my life. I have an early memory of being there with my dad and brother one day and dad showing us where clear water runs from the hills. I have a photo of me and my granddad, me aged about 6, him leading me around great boulders of rocks on a hillside. And as a teenager, a group of us would catch the bus out there in summer and walk through streams and drink cider in the sun. I caught a bus out there on my one once when I’d finished my O levels, needing to get away and be by myself in the one place I knew I could find peace. So it’s no surprise that this place has cropped up in a book.
A Bad Winter is my fifth book and my first ghost story, and it all started with a snippet of a local story from the Peak District. When I read about the murder of a young woman in Hill Head House in 1760 in Bradwell, which is no longer standing, and the strange events that followed, the idea for the book began. The book runs between 1760 and modern day, telling the story of what happened to Sarah Vernon and the people of the village, and what happens to Lorraine when the events of 1760 meet with her own life today. It’s about love and what it drives us to do, the power of belief, and of course, ghosts!
When I first decided to write a ghost story, I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I’d get, but my editor at Armley Press was instantly supportive and suggested that this was a natural progression for me. Thinking about it, he’s right, all of my previous books do contain ghosts, the presence of someone no longer living who haunts the characters, it was just that this was the first time I’d actually brought the ghost out and into the story.
One of the main themes of the story is belief, which is a tricky one. Belief can make us do all kinds of things, it’s a powerful force, and people use this powerful tool to make others do things too. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the mere suggestion of a presence can cause us to act differently.
So I’d like to throw this post open to you now. Do you believe in ghosts? Have you had a ghostly experience? Write me a comment below or ask me a question and I’ll get back to you x
A Bad Winter -
When does passion turn to love? When does responsibility mean guilt? When does a death become a murder?
In A Bad Winter these hefty questions stir up echoes through time, from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, to create an intimate and powerful tale of personal lives in freefall. With her trademark pictorial prose and beautifully phrased metaphors, novelist Samantha Priestley has created a ghostly romance set among wintry Derbyshire hills, and a shivering good read.