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Posts Tagged ‘Ya thrillers’

A Shout Out To Terrific Teachers & Their Crazily Creative Kids!

Friday, January 31st, 2014

 

A creepy reading in the school hall – lights off, of course!

A quick post to say a BIG thank you to the children, the staff, and especially brilliant English teacher Miss Andrew of Christ’s Hospital School in Lincoln.

I always get a kick out of visiting schools with my events and workshops. Getting kids excited and engaged with reading and writing has been one of the unexpected joys of being a children’s author, and I think I speak for a lot of that crazy crew who write kids’ books when I say, although school visits can be exhausting, the buzz and energy we get from enthusing young people about stories sends us scurrying back to our keyboards, full of fresh zest and new ideas! (I also enjoy making whole assembly groups leap out of their skins at the JUMP! moments in my books, but that’s just my evil mastermind side speaking. Mwhahaha!)

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Christ’s Hospital School Library Display (thanks to the awesome librarian!)

Anyway, last Friday I had the pleasure of joining a group of very creative students at Christ’s Hospital and, over the course of an hour, we came up with a frankly terrifying idea for a zombie novel crossed with Les Misérables and touching on the issues of slavery! Brainstorming, the children devised a really interesting central character and the outline of a breathlessly exciting plot. I really hope they continue with it – I can’t wait to see how it turns out for Joe and his zombie friend Claire (or 24601 as Joe’s despicable dad calls her!).

You can find a fun report on the visit by clicking this link

Now, I don’t post after every school visit – it would get a bit repetitive if I did! – but I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight the wonderful kids & staff at Christ’s Hospital and, in so doing, send out a big thank you to ALL the schools I’ve recently attended. Contrary to what we often read about in the press and see in certain TV documentaries, the teenagers I encounter up and down the country on a weekly basis are considerate, polite, engaged and VERY hardworking. Similarly, the teachers I work with (and enjoy cups of tea with in the staffroom) are tireless champions of education who put 110% (I was never good at maths!) into their work and care about each and every child they teach. So thank you again Christ’s Hospital, Miss Andrew, and all the teachers and pupils who’ve been so kind as to invite me into their school!

The Case of the Exsanguinated Sleuth

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

As promised, in honour of the return of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ brilliant SHERLOCK, here is my cheeky Sherlock Holmes story… with a supernatural twist (Sherlockians, see if you can spot all the references to the Conan Doyle stories, and check out my previous post on Holmes and the supernatural below…)

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Mr Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those infrequent occasions when he was up all night, was seated at the breakfast table. I stood upon the hearthrug and picked up the article our visitor had left behind the night before. Embossed in deepest crimson upon the calling card was a gothic letter ‘D’.

“Well, Watson, what do you make of it?”

Holmes was sitting with his back to me, and I had given him no sign of my occupation.

“I believe you have eyes in the back of your head,” I remarked.

“I have at least a well-polished, silver-plated coffee pot in front of me,” said he, and touching the lid he let out a sharp hiss as if the scalding metal had burned his elegant fingers.

As my eyes shifted to the pot itself, Holmes reacted with lightning speed and threw his napkin over it. Still, I had a fancy that I had glimpsed something curious before the linen descended. I had the strange idea that, although the chair in which he sat had been reflected, the face and form of Sherlock Holmes was missing.

“Watson,” he said, dragging me from my reverie, “would you have any objection to drawing the blinds?”

“None at all.” I crossed the room, all the while keeping a concerned eye on my old friend. “Tell me, Holmes, are you afraid of something?”

“Well, I am.”

“Of what?” said I, shutting out the morning glare. “Not air-guns again!”

“No. I no longer fear… air-guns.”

The detective gave a dry chuckle and curled up in his chair, knees drawn to his jutting chin. Despite his good humour he was even more gaunt and pale than usual. I approached, took hold of his wrist and attempted to gauge his pulse. I could find none. Similar difficulties had frustrated me when examining him after one of his cocaine binges, the soporific effect of his customary seven-per-cent solution having depressed the rigour of his circulatory system. He did not protest as I rolled up his sleeve and checked for the telltale signs that his miserable addiction had been indulged. Again, I could find nothing. And then I noticed something very strange: there were two puncture wounds, but not upon his arm.

“What have you been doing to yourself, old fellow?” I exclaimed.

“Peace, Watson,” Holmes muttered. “You will be pleased to hear I have no further use for the cocaine bottle.”

“Hmn. Well, something very odd has happened since I saw you last. Perhaps it is all to do with your visitor of last night. I am sorry I could not be at your side, my practice is rather busy of late. But come, tell me about him.”

Holmes stretched his long legs towards the fire and a great shiver ran the course of his body.

“Can’t get warm for the life of me,” he said. “As to my client, he was a nobleman of eastern extraction. A Count, no less.”

“Indeed? Well, I suppose we have hosted hereditary kings of Bohemia in Baker Street before, but what did this illustrious client want with you?”

“A trifling, if puzzling, business of persecution. He arrived in the town of Whitby on the Yorkshire coast some weeks back and was immediately set upon by a ragtag band made up of a wild frontiersman, an asylum physician and the eldest son of one of our noble families.”

“Good God, what had the man done to attract the hostility of such an unlikely crew?”

“That is somewhat unclear,” said the detective. “He is a foreigner, of course, and that may have been against him from the first. The Count is of the opinion that, as dangerous as these men are, their leader poses a far greater threat to his safety.”

“Who is this other man?”

“A Dutch professor with a very particular idée fixe that borders upon insanity. He is, however, a brilliant fellow with half the letters in the alphabet after his name. This obsession with the Count and his ‘kind’, as the Professor in his narrow-mindedness might term them, has diverted him from his true calling as an expert in obscure diseases.”

“Prejudice is a horrid thing,” I said shortly.

“Indeed. There are some trees, Watson, which grow to a certain height, and then suddenly develop some unsightly eccentricity. You will often see it in humans.” At that last word an uncharacteristic expression of condescension passed across my friend’s features; a certain aloof inhumanity which chilled me strangely. “Whatever the cause,” he continued, “the man has begun to go wrong.” 

“Well, it seems a most interesting case,” I ventured.

Holmes smiled, and in that instant I had the uncanny impression that his teeth, particularly the canines, were of a peculiarly pointed, I might even say feral, appearance. In all the chronicles I had made of our adventures together, of all the sketches of his person contained therein, I had not remarked upon, for I did not remember ever observing, this singular feature before.

“Interesting indeed,” Holmes nodded, “though I remain sanguine as to the problems the mystery presents.”

“Well then,” said I, “shall I leave you to ruminate upon it?”

“No, Watson. I should like you to stay and give me your assistance in certain matters.”

Holmes’ eyes glowed with a sudden fire and he rose and slipped across the hearthrug. Within three steps he was at the door of our Baker Street sitting room, turning the key in the lock. Then he spun round and, fixing me with that peculiar smile, he said:

“Indeed, I fully expect this to be a three pint problem…”

With sincere apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Bram Stoker!

 

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]

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‘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?

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!

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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

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 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!