It’s not surprising that I have a particular love of writing ghost stories, as my favourite book is Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. The idea of Cathy and Heathcliff’s undying passion, and Cathy’s spirit wandering around the moors until the lovers are reunited really struck a chord with me when I devoured that book in my early teens. I always wanted to write something as memorable and, yes, Gothically dark as Wuthering Heights, but I soon realised it was an impossible task. I don’t know of anyone who has such a mastery of words, or can write so many memorable speeches as Emily Brontë, and she proved a hard act to follow. So I settled for writing a different sort of ghost story - timeslips, where the past and present collide.
Unquestionably the building where I work on my day job helps on the inspiration front. My most recent paperback release, Watch For Me By Moonlight, has the historical part set in the late eighteenth century. My office is part of a terrace of Georgian houses that has all been knocked into one, so you can literally walk from one end of the terrace to the other through the big old corridors and pass several beautiful original features on your way: fireplaces, stained glass windows, elegant curving staircases ... But it's not the building alone that inspires.
It’s a wonderful building - so long as you don’t mind sharing your space with the residents who never left.
There are quite a few ghosts in our Georgian terrace. We have a lovely businessman who climbs the stairs to his office to avoid his noisy children, and is often found sitting at a desk working away. He’s very friendly, and always wishes the cleaners good afternoon. It’s a shame that whenever they see him climb the stairs, he’s just simply a pair of legs.
We’ve also got a maid called Elizabeth who walks the corridors of the second house, on the second floor. My manager and I once decided to use a bit of crystal divination, and we pinned her name down and the date she worked there. It all checked out in the census records, which is even more chilling.
Then there’s the time I walked into my office, feeling bad at interrupting my manager telling another woman off behind closed doors. When I got inside the room, I realised there was nobody else there.
And the time a pole we used to open a window simply lay itself down carefully, beside that very same door.
Or the laughing a colleague heard in an empty room.
Or the time I ran after a friend I had seen enter an office. Imagine my surprise when I burst into an empty room and she popped up behind me and said: ‘did you want me for anything?’
You get the idea. And it's not a bad choice of office for someone who decided at an early age to write ghost stories!
Kirsty Ferry's latest paperback, Watch For Me By Moonlight is released by multi award winning publishers, Choc Lit, today and is available from all good bookshops and online retailers.
It is the first in a new time-slip series, Hartsford Mysteries, and has links to Kirsty’s successful Rossetti Mysteries.
It is already an ebook time-slips bestseller on Amazon & Kobo. For details visit www.choc-lit.com.
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