Go to the WilliamHussey home page | skip to main menu | skip to content

Posts Tagged ‘Haunted’

Tour Stuff #1: An Evening of Ghost Stories

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Hello All

Well, I’m back from the very exhausting but VERY rewarding Haunted tour! 1,600 miles, dozens of schools, and plenty of scares later, and part of me wishes I could do it all over again! I met so many great people on my trek around the UK – brilliant booksellers, terrific teachers, stupendous students, as well as that crazily creative crew at Seven Stories (see the post below).

I could write and write about my experiences, filling paragraph after paragraph with funny stories and intriguing anecdotes, but I’ve decided to rest my typing fingers (I really need to get back to writing books!) and select nugget-size chunks of cool stuff to share.

The first is this amazing poster and tickets from my ‘Evening of Ghost Stories’ event at Lostock Hall Academy! (Click images for larger views)

Lostock Hall

Lostocj Hall

(‘An Evening of Ghost Stories’ is my brand new after-schools event, designed, in part, to get parents more involved in school life. Details of this new event can be found at my School Visits page here.)

At the kind invitation of Head of English, Mrs Butterworth, I took this new event into the wonderful Lostock Hall Academy. The school hall had been suitably decorated with spider webs, tarantulas and bats (plastic, thankfully!), and all manner of creepy accessories. The evening kicked off with an introductory speech from Mrs Butterworth welcoming parents into the school and highlighting the different activities in which the children were engaged.

Then we were treated to some particularly spine-tingling readings from the school’s ‘Community Readers.’

I was waiting in the stage’s darkened wings (the lights had been turned low in the auditorium and the shadows had gathered), listening to these courageous young people reading extracts from their favourite scary stories. We had pieces from classics like Dracula, Frankenstein and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, as well as exciting contemporary extracts from Darren Shan and other fresh voices in horror. I must say, these pupils read their pieces beautifully – I’m not sure I’d have been brave enough to perform to a packed hall when I was their age! We were then treated to a charming and suitably haunting song from a young lady who, I believe, really ought to try out for The X Factor!

Then it was my turn at the podium. Echoing a line from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, I suggested that we were no longer sitting in Lostock Hall’s auditorium but had been transported to a ‘home by horror haunted’ and that the audience ought to keep repeating to themselves: It’s only a story, only a story, only a story…

I performed a dramatic reading from MR James’ ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll Come To You’, then two tales from my own pen. I’m happy to report the audience screeched and jumped out of their skins in all the right places! The atmosphere was just right, with pupils from throughout the school chaperoning their nervous parents into the hall and then laughing along with them as those spooked-out mums and dads leaped out of their seats during the scary bits!

After the readings the school had organised a charity raffle. I think the best part of the evening was the community atmosphere generated by the event. It was great to see parents, pupils and teachers all brought together for the evening in an environment where parents could learn more about the school and feel more included in their children’s education.

So a huge thank you to Mrs Butterworth and all the staff and pupils at Lostock Hall. I was very gratified to receive this message from Mrs Butterworth after the visit:

‘Just wanted to say thank you for a fantastic day and for your  breath-taking readings . Your impact on our pupils’ enthusiasm for reading was tangible.’ What greater compliment can a writer receive?

‘Not your average horror story’, Haunted Gets Its ‘Hooks Into Books’!

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

A brief ‘howdy’ from the road-weary author! I’m now halfway through the Haunted tour and, so far, I’ve covered about 800 miles!

One of the highlights of the tour so far was my visit to the wonderful Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children’s Books (I must thank Lorna for her gracious and informative tour of this fascinating place!). There, in the shadow-strewn attic, we held our Evening of Ghost Stories. The event went really well, with creeped out kids leaning forward in their chairs and then leaping to the ceiling when… but no, that would be telling!

I’ll be blogging fully about the tour soon, but I’d like to share two brilliant things from the Seven Stories visit. First, this fantastic sketch of me reading MR James’ ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll Come To You’. It is the work of Seven Stories own artistic genius Cathy Brumby, isn’t it great?!

Me!

The other exciting news is that Seven Stories has chosen Haunted to be part of their Hooks Into Books package. Here the team chose ‘7 of the latest, high-quality titles in children’s literature’ from the thousands published each year and then created a whole package around those titles for schools. What an honour for Haunted to be selected! I was giddy with excitement! In their own words, here is why Haunted was chosen:

‘Not your average horror story, we liked how Hussey weaves the chilling town past with the modern day supernatural happenings… This is a darkly layered story merging the supernatural with reality into a complex and absorbing read.’

Please click the links above to find out more about the terrific Hooks Into Books project and the amazing Seven Stories.

Now, back to packing up my Haunted tour kit. Where did I leave those vampire fangs?

HAUNTED TOUR & AN EVENING OF GHOST STORIES AT SEVEN STORIES

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Starting Monday, Haunted goes on tour around the UK!

For two weeks, I’ll be driving up and down the country, covering over 1,500 miles, with my brand new schools event:

THE SUPER SPOOKY SUPERNATURAL FICTION SHOW!

One of the images from the 'History of Supernatural Fiction' lecture

One of the images from the ‘History of Supernatural Fiction’ presentation

Update: Anyone who purchases a copy of HAUNTED during the tour will now receive a FREE limited edition postcard! Check them out below:

Haunted Post Cards

The event will include an introduction to the life of a writer, a dramatic reading from Haunted (including the infamous JUMP! moment), and a funny and educational presentation on the ‘History of Supernatural Fiction’, from Greek myth and the legend of Faust to an in-depth look at Bram Stoker’s Dracula, all complemented by suitable spine-tingling imagery.

After this introduction to the Gothic genre, pupils will take part in the DRACULA vs VAN HELSING QUIZ. Dressed up in cape, wigs and with vampire-slaying props to hand, one student will play the nefarious Count, one the heroic Professor Van Helsing. The audience will then be split into TEAM DRAC and TEAM VAN HELSING and the final battle between Good and Evil will take place! Whichever team gets the most correct answers will triumph!

Stake, Mallet & Holy Water: Van Helsing's Vampire Slaying Kit!

Stake, Mallet & Holy Water: Van Helsing’s Vampire Slaying Kit!

There will be one public event during the tour, and this I’m REALLY excited about. The last time I visited the wonderful Seven Stories (the National Centre for Children’s Books) in Newcastle was during the Witchfinder Tour, and I found it to be an absolutely enchanting place. On Thursday 3rd October at 6pm, I’ll be bringing a special event – AN EVENING OF GHOST STORIES – to this brilliant venue.

Seven Stories - the venue for An Evening of Ghost Stories

Seven Stories – the venue for An Evening of Ghost Stories

As the lights dim, I’ll be performing dramatic readings from 3 super-spooky tales: MR James’ classic ghost story ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll Come To You’, an extract from Haunted, and a special story where the twist comes in the very last word! This last story, I performed last year at a special Halloween event and it drew gasps from the crowd! Full details of this event can be found here http://www.sevenstories.org.uk/whats-on/events/117417/an-evening-of-ghost-stories-with-william-hussey You will need to book, but scares ARE guaranteed!

Below are some of the schools I’ll be visiting (others may be added). Is yours on the list?

Haven High School, Boston

Boston Grammar School

Newman School, Carlisle

Queen Elizabeth Grammar, Penrith

Keswick School

Jedburgh High School

Earlston High School

Bispham High School

Lostock Hall Academy

Bristol Metropolitan School

Marlwood School

Downend School

Test Valley School

Sheredes Senior School

The Nightmare Eater Begins To Feed!

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

nightmare eaterThe Nightmare Eater is here! And his diabolical presence is all thanks to awesome editor Adrian Cole and the fright-fans at Franklin Watts.

Adrian contacted me last year requesting a truly terrifying tale. He wanted something fast-paced and super creepy, with a strong lead character and a memorable setting. Oh yeah, and he wanted it all wrapped up in a punchy 3,000 words!

Now, for a long time I’d wanted to write a story set against the fairground world in which I’d grown up. For the first few years of my life, candy floss stalls and hot dog joints, shrieking rides and screaming klaxons, hook-a-duck games (which my great-grandfather always claimed he had invented) and spinning gallopers (merry-go-rounds, as they’re known to non-travellers) made up my world.

The Park 1

You know, fairgrounds are places of fun and adventure, but even showmen admit that there has always been a dark side to these touring carnivals. Sometimes this is an in-your-face kind of creepiness – the ghost train, the horror house, even the freak shows of the Victorian circuits – but there’s also another sort of spookiness. I’m not exactly sure how to describe it. Perhaps it’s contained in that moment when you walk through the Hall of Mirrors and, from the corner of your eye, you see a sudden flash and have the sense that, for a split second, some unknown figure is standing right next to you. Or the uncanny feeling that, behind the fixed smiles of the horror house dummies, a real smile lurks, and it is not a friendly one…

In The Nightmare Eater we are presented with a fairground of thrills and spills. A dizzying wonderland which tempts a young boy to break a sacred promise.

Fairground people are, by necessity, nomadic. They travel from place to place, rarely laying down roots, and sometimes they are discriminated against because they don’t quite belong. Often in our society immigrants suffer the same prejudice. In this story the son of an immigrant family journeys into the dark heart of a fairground and discovers much about himself in the process. In ‘Grimaldi’s House of Horrors’, young Tomasz  Kaczmarek will face a creature beyond his imagining, and must summon the courage to face it down.

For if he fails this Eater of Bad Dreams will devour all in its path…

I had huge fun writing this story. Trying to capture the elusive carnival world of my youth was a real challenge and a perfect joy.

So ROLL UP, ROLL UP! One ticket left to Grimaldi’s House of Horrors! Enter if you Dare…

Witchfinder Giveaway

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

To support the release of Haunted, I’m giving away a FREE signed copy of Witchfinder 2: Gallows at Twilight!

PICS

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment below. A simple ‘Howdy’ will do!

In other news, I’m now preparing for the HAUNTED SCHOOLS TOUR. A UK-wide tour in which I’ll be visiting schools with the brand new SUPER-SPOOKY SUPERNATURAL FICTION SHOW. More about this in the coming weeks. For now, get commenting!

Competition closes Sunday 29th September.

PS – don’t forget to download my new FREE horror short story, TURN HER FACE TO THE WALL. Guaranteed to chill, the twist in this tale comes in the very last word! Just click here to download

Haunted: the full story

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

This week marks the Book Birthday (which just means it’s being published – hooray!) of Haunted!

I’ve posted quite a lot about the ‘big idea’ behind the book (basically, in 1920 famed inventor Thomas Edison claimed to the world’s press he was on the verge of creating a machine for speaking with the dead! No kidding, Google it!) and I’ve posted a few random and (hopefully!) intriguing quotes here and there, but I haven’t really said that much about the story itself.

So here it is. The story of Haunted, with as few spoilers as possible:

haunted_house

 

We begin with the adventure of a young boy called Henry Torve who, at the urging of his best friend, is about to break into FUNLAND, a derelict theme park that overlooks the little town of Milton Lake. To prove his guts and join a local gang, Henry must run the ‘Funland Gauntlet’ and return with the head of a mannequin from the abandoned park’s ghost train.

Only one catch. Funland is rumoured to be haunted. And not by just any old spectre, but the former owner, a certain Mr Hiram Sparrow. Eleven years ago, this Hiram lost his mind and engineered the mass murder of all the thrill-seekers who were visiting his park. Now his ghost is supposed to lurk in the dingy depths of the ghost train.

On that snowy winter night, in the dank corridors and dusty chambers of HIRAM’S HELLISH HORROR HOUSE, something terrible, something uncanny, something impossible happens to Henry. It begins with the ringing of an old-fashioned telephone, but that’s only the start of the story… (and you can read this entire chapter at the Amazon page here).

Old-Six-Flags-in-New-Orleans-looks-like-a-Post-Apocalyptic-theme-park

After this bone-chilling prologue we are introduced to our main character, Henry’s cousin, Emma Rhodes. When we meet her, Emma is trapped in a world of pain and grief caused by the accidental death of her little brother. But Emma will soon be forced to face the world again in a test that will demand every scrap of her formidable courage.

What exactly did Emma’s cousin witness at Funland to drive him out of his wits? Whose is the voice, so like her dead brother’s, that calls to her from the abandoned house across the street? And who is the brave and lonely stranger who’s made that ruined house his home, and whose damaged spirit calls out to her own?

As the snow falls and the town is cut off, a dark mystery threatens to engulf Milton Lake. From every period of its long history, the dead of the town are returning. Soon they will begin to claim the lives of its citizens as their own, for someone has discovered the fabled Ghost Machine of Thomas Edison and, unless Emma and her new friend can stop them, the dead will overwhelm the living. But the identity of the necromancer is not the only mystery.

For the stranger Nicholas Redway harbours his own secrets.

Secrets that will open Emma’s eyes to wonders beyond her imagining.

And terrors beyond her darkest dreams…

A Haunted Treat: a free Short Story with a Twist in the Tail!

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

51R6irDd4ML__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_

To celebrate the official publication of Haunted next week, Oxford University Press and I got together to plan a little extra treat for all you horror hounds out there. A completely FREE short story for you to download onto your Kindles! Just click this LINK and you can start reading straight away. Also included are the first few chapters from both Haunted AND Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide!

It’s a particularly creepy little number that I call ‘Turn Her Face to the Wall’. Last year, I was involved in a special Halloween event to help support my local library. The evening involved me performing dramatized readings from a few of my favourite creepy stories, including ‘Oh Whistle and I’ll Come To You’ from the spooktacular (that’s a word, right?!) pen of Mr James and a story from ‘Nocturnes’, a terrifying collection from modern master of the macabre John Connolly. I decided to write my own story for the evening, and to set myself a challenge…

The story had to be chilling and mysterious throughout – a nagging sense that something isn’t quite right with the picture the reader is being presented with – and then there had to be a twist. Only the twist must explain the entire story. And, to make it doubly difficult, the twist must take place in the very last sentence! In fact, in the very final two words!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy! And keep an eye out for a little teaser that connects Turn Her Face to the Wall directly to Haunted, though you’ll have to read Haunted if you’re going to get the gag!

Review of HAUNTED by Olivia Clements (15)

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

It’s only a few weeks now until my new supernatural thriller HAUNTED goes on sale! This is always the most nail-biting time for a writer, waiting to see what the world thinks of his new book! Anyway, I’m pleased to report that the first official review from the people that matter most, my Young Adult readership, is pretty darn good. This is from Olivia, an avid reader and not your typical horror fan…

Haunted-5 front only

Haunted

By William Hussey

Review by Olivia Clements

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I don’t often read Horror books as they tend to scare me witless, so I was dubious about being handed this book. But, never the less, I stiffened my shoulders, turned on a bright light and turned to the first page.

What I found was a cleverly written, action-packed horror that asks the reader to imagine when haunting becomes real. It focuses on the idea of the spirits of the dead being called back to haunt the sleepy town of Milton Lakes in the bodies they once owned. Only one girl notices the dark intention of the townspeople’s dead ancestors, fights to stop it, and to protect the people she loves. Emma Rhodes, suffering after the death of her brother, meets Nick Redway, the mysterious boy who knows about the dead. And together they go on the terrifying task of finding the machine that started the danger, and sending the spirits back to where they belong. 

The main reason why I liked this book was the suspense. I was fascinated by the idea of the Ghost Machine, a machine built to bring back the spirits of the dead, and how it would be used. Hussey has put in enough suspense to ensure the reader gets thought it. The mystery of The Circle, and why they are bringing back the dead, keeps the reader going, biting their nails until the very end of the book. 

Another factor to the book was how much I liked the characters. Emma Rhodes and Nick Redway. They are wholesome and believable, which adds effect and makes the reader feel for them. Emma has lost her brother and blames herself. The way she is written gives her a sadder, lonelier side that makes the reader love and feel sorry for her. She is that likable, daring girl we all want to be and the writer has made her so real that she almost demands our loyalty and support.

But Nick himself is another great character. He adds to the suspense of the story with his hidden past that continues to elude us. His life is clouded with mystery which goes hand in hand with the horror of his task, to send the dead back to where they came from. His struggle to keep Emma safe and fight to save the town gives him a sad, but determined feeling that enforces the reader’s attention and backing. 

A book is only ever as good as it’s characters. If that is true then this one is brilliant. The main characters are likeable and real. Each one has their flaws and separate personalities. Their feelings come across in such a convincing way that the reader has to feel them as well. Even the villains of the story demand sympathy. You can never be fully angry with them because you can see their reasons and empathise with them.

The book also appealed to me because it was believable. Each character was written so fluently that it was easy to feel what they felt. Emma could have been your average girl in school and the fact that she saves the town gives a hopeful air to the book, encouraging others to be brave like her. Even the more magical sides to the book were handled well and effectively. There were no ‘crucial coincidences’ that can seem fake, it felt plausible and made for better reading through that.

The book ends with a sudden twist, ending in an almost gut wrenching way. It contrasts to many other books by having such a non-stereotypical ending, that stays with the reader for a long time.

I cannot do any more to recommend this book than by saying it was an emotional thrill ride for the reader and presented a firm, likeable array of characters, leaving the reader with a content, confident feeling long after the last page was turned.

Wow! Thank you, Olivia, you’ve made my day!

Haunted Quote 4

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

I hope you all enjoyed the first look at the HAUNTED cover last week, and that you all gorged yourselves on Easter eggs over the weekend! I’m on a diet at the moment, and so there was no chocolate for me. Now there’s a REAL horror story for you ; )

Anyway, it’s time again for another random/intriguing line or two from ‘Haunted’. This time there’s something a little meatier on offer – a taster of the infamous Phantasmagorium! This warehouse of horrors, this unimaginable trove of terrors, this store of supreme scariness will play an important role in the book. And so here’s a glimpse…

‘They hurried on past iron maidens with eyeholes full of blood; past the mummified heads of things half-human, half-animal; past a huge water tank in which the tentacles of some leviathan horror swooped and swirled. On, on. On down passages lined with…’

And we’ll leave it there!

Hurry back next week for more teasers!

HAUNTED cover & Quote 3!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Hi guys

It’s time for another random/intriguing quote from Haunted! But before we get to that, here at last is the cover for the finished book!

Illustrated by the phenomenally talented Rohan Eason, whose previous credits include his brilliant, atmospheric work on The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, it reflects the dark fairy tale vibe of a story in which a young girl must overcome her grief to battle the spectral forces that are threatening her town. The cover shows our hero, Emma Rhodes, approaching the derelict (and quite possibly haunted) Sparrow House: the former residence of a mass murderer, the Victorian ruin now harbours a mysterious newcomer to the cursed town of Milton Lake.

As Emma approaches so the spirits of the ‘unmade’ swarm around her. It is a bold, stark design which, we hope, will catch the eye and stir the imagination. It hints at the tone of the book – mystery, intrigue, spookiness galore and more than a few heart-stopping surprises – but also leaves much to the imagination…

Here’s a look at the full book design. On the back you can see the fabled ‘Ghost Machine’ telephone discharging its ectoplasmic, spirit-forming energy onto the page. This then forms into those shadowy characters that threaten Emma Rhodes.

For larger versions just click on the images!

You can also read all about the challenges HAUNTED presented over at the brilliant Book Zone website – just click here

And now for the third intriguing HAUNTED quote:

‘She had laid down the challenge and then abandoned her brother to the spell of the Sparrow House…’

See you soon for more Haunted news and yet more teasing and tantalizing random lines!