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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