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Ghoulish Goings On At St George’s College!

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Hello all

Before the summer holidays I visited the brilliant St George’s College in Weybridge. Mr Waight kindly wrote up this report of the events for the school newsletter and has allowed me to reproduce it here (names of students have been removed due to school policy):

‘On July 3, author William Hussey visited St George’s College to give three presentations. He started the day by discussing the writer’s craft with the Sixth Form English students, followed this with a terrifying mock witch trial with the First Years and finally gave a haunting talk on the Gothic genre to the Second Years.

The First Year students were immediately engaged by William’s presence, learning how he became interested in writing and the historical events surrounding witchcraft in Civil War Britain. Having been educated on the traditional instruments used by witchfinders of the time, including the terrifying bodkin, the students were ready for their very own witch trial. [student name] was the unfortunate student accused of being a witch – and with the help of townsfolk, his fate – guilty! – was sealed by the jury of 120 first years.

When the Second Years arrived in the afternoon, they were given a brief history of the horror story before William focused on the classic novel ‘Dracula’, dispelling certain myths about vampires – Stoker’s original creation CAN walk in sunlight. This was followed by the ultimate battle: Dracula versus Van Helsing.

In all three sessions, the students were totally engaged with William, which is testament to his fantastic public speaking ability. All of the lower school students were treated to a reading from one of William’s books, where new meaning was given to the phrase ‘bringing words to life’. The students asked thought-provoking and interesting questions once each presentation was completed, although the Second Years did have a strange obsession with discovering William’s favourite horror film (The Shining).

The students and staff at St George’s are incredibly grateful to William for giving up his time. The queue of students lining up to purchase a signed copy of his novels speaks volumes as to the impact that William had on his young listeners. The event was a roaring success and was described by Mrs Rowlatt, Head of English, as: “thoroughly entertaining and spine-chilling; William Hussey has the gift of stimulating and surprising his audience in equal measure”.

No Ghosts Need Apply

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

 

The latest Holmes & Watson

The latest Holmes & Watson

In honour of the return of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ brilliant Sherlock, I’ll be reprinting a cheeky short story from my back catalogue, a pastiche called THE ADVENTURE OF THE EXSANGUINATED SLEUTH. The story will be posted Monday, but first a discussion of that most rational of detectives and his attitude to my favourite genre, the supernatural…

The question I always get asked at signings and school events: what did you read when you were a kid? I then bore the audience to death (sometimes literally) with a huge list of favourite books and stories. Always at the very core of that list is the ‘canon’ of 56 short stories and 4 novellas that make up the adventures of Mr Sherlock Holmes.

Holmes was my first real literary passion, and I use the word ‘passion’seriously. Whenever I sat down with one of those stories, I found my young heart racing as I followed the Great Detective and his faithful companion and chronicler, Dr John H Watson (formerly of the 5th Northumberland Fusiliers) into the dingy alleys of Limehouse, over the hound-haunted moors of Devonshire and across the cantons of Switzerland, all the way to that fatal encounter at the Reichenbach Falls… (SPOILER ALERT)… and beyond!

From the age of 5 to 14, the cosy sitting room of 221b Baker Street was as familiar to me as my own bedroom. All I had to do was close my eyes to see Holmes’ Stradivarius violin propped up on his chair, his correspondence pinned to the mantelpiece with a jack knife, the tobacco-stuffed Persian slipper, that patriotic ‘VR’ done in bullet holes in the wall, Watson’s bull pup lounging on the hearthrug (probably poisoned by Holmes in one of his unethical experiments), a chalkboard covered in strange ‘dancing men’, and on the side table: a dark lantern, Watson’s service revolver and Holmes’ burglar kit all ready and waiting for the next thrilling adventure.

A lovely chill raced down my spine whenever those famous words – ‘The game’s afoot!’ – were uttered or when I read some wonderful line like: ‘Mr Holmes, they were the footprints of a gigantic hound…’

Of course, in the end (SPOILER ALERT!) there was no demonic hound haunting the Baskerville clan, just a big dopey dog covered in luminous paint. You see, unlike his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes was an arch rationalist who did not believe in the supernatural.

In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Holmes shrugs off the legend of the ghost dog as interesting only to ‘a collector of fairy tales’ while in The Sussex Vampire, another story that at the beginning seems to be dipping its toe into the world of mythical monsters, Holmes makes it clear that his work as a detective ‘must stand flat-footed upon the ground… No ghosts need apply’.

But despite Holmes’ scepticism, Watson’s accounts of their adventures together often contain a frisson of what might be called supernatural or uncanny terror, and despite this terror always being rationalised and made sense of at the end of the case, a hint of eerie impossibility seems to linger in the mind of the reader. Maybe this is because, very often, Holmes’ cases teeter on the edge of gothic literature, a sub-genre that was the first to treat the supernatural as a real threat and which did much to birth the detective story.

All of this, as I say, is by way of an introduction to my very short Sherlock Holmes story that will be appearing on the blog Monday. It’s a parody really, my way of poking a bit of fun at the Great Detective’s insistence that ‘no ghosts need apply’…

HAUNTED & WITCHFINDER: INCREDIBLE KINDLE DEALS!

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

So… There are Hussey Horror deals galore on Kindle!!!

You can get my new book HAUNTED and WITCHFINDER: DAWN OF THE DEMONTIDE for just 99p!

AND you can get my chilling short story, TURN HER FACE TO THE WALL, for absolutely NOTHING! Yup, completely FREE!

This Macabre Madness will have to end soon, so snap ’em up while you can. You might event choose to give these bargain horror books as gifts as part of Neil Gaiman’s brilliant All Hallows Read project!

Just click on the covers below and you’ll get around 150,000 words worth of terror for just 99! (OK, enough with the exclamation marks!!!)

Haunted-5 front only

Witchfinder_-_Dawn_of_the_Demontide[1]

turn

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?

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…

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!

HAUNTED Quote 2

Monday, March 18th, 2013

It’s Monday (boo!) and time for another random/hopefully intriguing quote from my next nerve-shredding novel HAUNTED (out in September). So without further ado here is a glimpse of Chapter 5:

‘Emma caught sight of an egg-shaped head with little holes where the ears had been; goggle eyes staring out of lidless sockets; skin ridged white and scarlet, like the contours left by lava on the face of a volcano…’

See you next week for more frightsome snippets!

HAUNTED Quote 1

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Hi All

Over the coming months, I’ll be posting some intriguing and some purely random quotes from my forthcoming thriller HAUNTED. You can find out more about the book by clicking here. And so on with the first quote:

‘… I did not want it to be true. That is why I treated you so roughly, Oliver. You were the only one whose voice I could not deny. Now, as silence and darkness nears, I beg your forgiveness.

Your friend, Thomas Edison.’