Haunted Houses

Well,  I’ve submitted my latest novel, Sea Spell, to my lovely publishers, Choc Lit, but like everything else they receive, it has to go through the Tasting Panel to see whether the readers will like it or not. If the panel doesn’t like it, it won’t get published, which is fair enough. Nobody wants to spend money on rubbish books, do they? So it’s a case of forgetting about it for a few months and cracking on with the next project. I have got an idea which is percolating like fine coffee in the maelstrom of my mind, so we will see where that takes me.

Anyway, one of my friends who read the initial manuscript of Sea Spell had two comments:

1) ‘I have a crush on the hero’ (my reply – ‘excellent, I must be doing something right, then.’)

2) ‘Where are the ghosts? They have to be there somewhere!’ (my reply – ‘oh, they are there. Don’t worry!’)

And Kirsty’s comment (yes, another Kirsty!) about the ghosts set me thinking about this blog post. I love writing about ghosts, and if pushed I would say that I think they do exist. This largely comes from my own experiences in our first house, which was a two bedroom, stone built 1906-dated money pit, disguised as an end terrace at the top of a hill. It was an old miner’s house and had apparently been a police house. I was never sure whether it housed a kind of miniature police station or the local policeman actually lived there. I do know that when we pulled the carpets up, we discovered a dark area which looked as though it had marked out a counter of some description. Was it the counter of the police station? It was near the fireplace, so, if that was the case, the sensible police person had at least made sure the fire was on his side of the counter.

But over to my ghost. I often used to get the impression that there was an old lady in the bedroom, either sitting on the bed or standing over it. She was tall and slim and wore a long, dark Edwardian style gown, and she wore her grey hair up in a bun. Her appearance would be heralded by a blast of cold air, even on the warmest nights and I would literally pull the covers up over my head and squeeze my eyes shut. I was never scared of her, I seemed to know that she was there to watch over me, especially when my husband was at work for long periods overseas and I was alone with a new baby. Someone suggested she might have been a Great Grandma of mine, but I don’t know. One night, I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and stop at my bedroom door, and by all accounts that should have been frightening, but it wasn’t.

The only time I was seriously terrified, was the one and only night I had decided to sleep downstairs on the sofa. It was a boiling hot night, much as they are at the minute, and my husband was fast asleep. I, however, wasn’t asleep and couldn’t sleep, so I went downstairs to avoid disturbing him. I was just dozing off when I swear a big, burly, scary man walked in and loomed right over the couch. Means as it was one of those old houses where you practically entered the lounge from the front door, I truly thought my days were numbered and someone had broken in to murder me. I was too scared even to scream, but I forced my eyes open…

And you can probably guess the rest. Yes. There was nobody there…

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