Wow! here we are already in December with the last newsletter of the year! So, I am going to give you a quick round up.
My first piece of news is another incredible Book Hub Giveaway! Following on from the recent thriller books success this one is a Christmas spectacular with TWENTY-ONE different prizes. Available are a Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon vouchers and nineteen different genre book bundles. Enter here: https://bookhub.online/bumper-2018-christmas-competition
My book is available in the thriller category, but there are nineteen different genres to choose from, so there is truly is something there for everyone: https://bookhub.online/bumper-2018-christmas-competition
The next excitement is that I am back on MeridianFM on 12th December at 10:15 am! I am looking forward to catching up with Samantha Day and talking about all things bookish and my return to the East Grinstead Bookshop to do another signing.
With Radio Presenter Samantha Day at MeridianFM
As I have said above, I am also returning to the wonderful East Grinstead bookshop for another signing, this time with other local authors for a Christmas event. So, that should be a fun day! I will be there with paperback copies of Spirits of the Dead and The Forest of Riddles. I had a great time in October and am looking forward to this next one. If you are local, you can pop in on Monday the 17th from 9:30-17:00. So come in for a spot of tea and a slice of cake.
East Grinstead BookShop — Pre-Christmas lights (and snow)
Well, to those of you I won’t see in person. I wish you all the best few weeks, a magical Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year!
All the best,
Stephen J Willis
I was recently asked who my favourite character is from Spirits of the Dead. It is always hard to pick a favourite character that I have written about. Part of the fun in writing, is coming up with lovable or evil characters! If I write well, I hope to enjoy each and every one of them.
My lead kid, Christopher is pretty cool, and his friend, Jason too — who is the standard sidekick and comedic relief. I actually really like Jason, as I had a friend just like him when I was young. I really enjoyed remembering him and letting him be such a big part of my story.
Another character that sort of moved from the background to the foreground was a chap called Dr Tabernacle. This is one interesting guy. He is a combination of a few people that I know. He has some good qualities and reminds me of gentlemen of a bygone era that naturally emanated manners and etiquette — a sorely missed attribute in this day and age. Whether his outward manners mask any darker intentions, one will have to see as the series progresses.
But in this book, my favourite to write was actually the utterly evil local priest, Reverent McBride. He has some wonderful characteristics that were just so much fun to create. Actually he is a composite character based off a few stories that I have heard, and people I have met.
Writing for a dark and twisted soul was always going to be great to get my teeth into. These fellows are somewhat complex, in that they are also the driving force behind the main characters pitfalls and terrors. They have their own mental reasons for doing what they do, and the darker they have fallen from a place of morality, the more it tends to show upon their face and in their actions.
I find that evil characters are the glue that provide the excitement, the apprehension and the reasons not to go out late at night for both our main characters and my readers!
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Spirits of the Dead – My Inspiration
Well, with the Christopher Daring rush of madness now settling into a more normal routine I thought it was time to give some love to my other books. That is why I am excited to say that I am participating in another Book Hub giveaway!
Book Hub are offering readers a chance to win Amazon vouchers and a thriller book bundle this month. Enter here to win a copy of my book, What’s the Time Mr Wolfdog? plus five other great thrillers: Enter Giveaway!
Currently, I am occupied finishing up By Order of the Shaman. This was to be another novella to fit into my series of short true stories, currently consisting of One Winter’s Day in June and Time for Obsession. However, it has naturally progressed into a much bigger story than I originally planned. The second draft is all but done and will shortly be in the hands of my beta-readers. So keep your eyes peeled for more information there.
I already have some exciting artwork I had specially created for this book. These are called ambigrams and they have a large significance within the story. You can get a preview of them here:
I hope you are currently enjoying some great books!
All the best,
Stephen J Willis
My initial inspiration for this book came from a real ghostly building in my local town. The high street here contains many preserved buildings dating as far back as the 14th century so it has many old and unusual locations.
One foggy morning, at 3am, I was out walking along The High Street, trying to shift a rather nasty migraine. I remember stopping in my tracks as an unexpected pressure upon my chest caused me to take in a deep breath.
I looked up at an old bicycle shop, where a big period bike sat gathering dust in the window. Everything about the shop display was grey and lost in the past. There was a pull to the top floor windows, where I felt the presence of someone looking down at me from behind the blackened windows. It was a very odd sensation. As I stared up I got the impression that the person was a young girl who had been stuck up there for over a hundred years.
I remember thinking how that poor girl had died up there so many moons ago. I of course, immediately questioned where on earth that feeling had come from. Being late, I tried to dismiss it and press on with my walk, still determined to shift the migraine. The seed of a story, however, had been planted in my mind.
What really made it real for me was that over the next few weeks, I happened to walk past the same shop with two different friends. On both occasions when I asked them what they thought of this practically invisible shop, they too raised a hand to their chest and mentioned that they suddenly felt an odd constriction there. They were both bowled over when I told them of my earlier experience and agreed that the place gave off a dark sort of foreboding.
The seed of this story blossomed into what became the short story, The Ghostly Penny Farthing, and now the full-length story, The Spirits of the Dead.
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Another month is hurtling along… and with my birthday only days away, they seem to pass faster every year!
Well, I thought I’d update you on the last month or so. As you can imagine, it is quite a promotional period of time. You would not believe the amount of time and energy used getting everything ready. But it finally happened, I had my first book signing!
The book signing was a complete success and I practically sold out! People came and went all day, some staying for tea in the Book Shop and others diving off again because of the afternoon rain.
I must say, John Pye, the owner of the East Grinstead Book Shop was the perfect host. A natural orator and entertainer and he even effortlessly looked after the handful of kids that turned up at the shop. I also would like to thank the delightful Sarah Gillett for all her help and guidance in making sure that I was well prepared!
We had a competition at the book signing to win a £10 Amazon gift card if you subscribed to my mailing list. I want to announce and congratulate the lucky winner, Jake Reynolds! Please email me here, to claim your gift card.
I got to chat with the two bubbly presenters James Cannon and Lesley McCabe the other week. It was a great interview, wherein we talked about the two new books and the series overall.
I also had a great chat with local radio presenter Samantha Day. I was in the studio at 10:15 am (Wed 26th September) chatting about the books and my previous acting stints.
Incidentally, after our show aired, Sam shared with me a current project that she is also working on. She really is quite an adventurer herself and was telling me about her expedition trip to Malawi in Africa coordinated by Orbis Expeditions, a specialist company for educational, and philanthropic travel. There she is supporting various local groups promoting, amongst other things, female health. The two business initiatives are Tine Pads and WOLREC. If you are interested in supporting her initiative you can find out more here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ania-jeffries-1
I want to thank a few more people, then I’ll leave you with some photos of a few of the kind people who came to the signing.
Dave Neave, for his good company throughout the day. Katy Newell for coming down with her camera and taking an abundance of photos and Visit East Grinstead who very kindly mentioned the books and the launch in the local East Grinstead news.
Finally, I want to thank Leah Chalmers, from Chalmers Writing Services who has been flat out with all the coordination to pull everything off. If you are looking at writing or need some help in these areas, then she is your go-to-girl!
Well, I guess that is all for now… So, whilst I work away on my next book, a psychological drama based on a true event — I wish you all happy reading!
All the best,