Sorrel Pitts
Sorrel Pitts

1 The Shadowing Stones, where Callum’s body is found in Broken Shadows, really do exist. Their real name is The Devil’s Den. I first visited the den on horseback with a friend when I was 14. We rode through a beautiful midsummer’s dawn and found these eerie stones in the mist. The experience never left me and I decided I would write about it one day.

The Shadowing Stones
The Shadowing Stones

I’ve always wanted to go to the den for the winter solstice, but never found anyone to accompany me. But this winter (2023), a musician friend told me he always visits it on the solstice, and he invited me to join him. We met at 5am and walked over the downs in the dark. The wind blew hard as we picked our way down the sarcen-filled valley with the sheep scattering around us, their eyes reflecting the glow of our head torches. We stood in front of the stones as the sun rose – that’s when I took the picture below. It was an incredible experience, but what struck me most was its timing. In all the years he’d been going to the den at solstice, my friend told me, he’d been never seen another soul there. How had I managed to meet the only person in the world who did go, and on that particular solstice, just before Broken Shadows was finally published?

Reader, you decide.  

Author Sorrel Pitts see's Istanbul for the first time
Sorrel Pitts see's Istanbul for the first time

2 Like Anna in Broken Shadows, I lived in Istanbul and taught English there. When I was very young I found a copy of Midnight Express on my aunt’s bookshelf and (completely ignoring the bit about the drugs and prison!) was fascinated by the descriptions of the city. I decided it had to be the first place that I would visit when I could afford to travel. I kept my promise and went on holiday to Turkey when I was eighteen (this photo of me is the first time I ever saw Istanbul, sailing across the Marmara sea towards it) and moved there when I was twenty three. I love Istanbul. It is the most vibrant, beautiful city in the world, and the Turks are the kindest most hospitable people I have ever met. I still have good friends there.

3 I am a musician and songwriter. I used to play guitar when I was young but gave it up to concentrate on writing (there were also no YouTube videos back then and I couldn’t afford a tutor). Five or so years ago, I met someone who heard my old tapes and encouraged me to take it back up. I now play my guitar every day and three of my songs have done very well in the UK Songwriting Contest. Creating songs is so much easier than writing novels. If you write a crap song, that’s one evening of your life gone. If you write a crap novel, it’s eight years.

You can find my songs on Soundcloud:

4 I love partner dancing. I started doing modern jive seven years ago and it changed my life in so many ways. I got fit, I got out, and I was able to connect with my fellow humans on a completely different level. I’ve met lots of lovely people through it and found my wonderful partner. He and I go dancing two or three times a week. Sometimes we’ll drive for hours if it’s the right dance. It’s an addiction.

5 I used to suffer from anxiety. In Broken Shadows, Tom is diagnosed with a condition called globus hystericus – a paranoid fear of a lump in the throat. I had this. I spent my early twenties terrified I had throat cancer. Over the years I’ve learnt how to control my anxiety. Listen to the things you tell yourself about yourself. It’s something I wish I’d known years ago. We are our own worst enemies.

6 I believe that writing is an adventure – it should feel just as exciting as reading a gripping novel – in that you keep going because you want to know what happens. While it’s wise to keep a loose plot in your mind, embrace the unexpected. I love it when my characters do something I’m not expecting, like turning out to be bastards. I didn’t like any of the characters in my first novel, The River Woman. I wanted to, but I didn’t.

7 Sir Michael Parkinson was so kind to me. He knew my dad when they were young journalists together. I had never met or spoken to him but when my first novel The River Woman, came out, my publisher asked if I knew anyone famous who might write some blurb for it. As my mother still had his address, I decided to risk writing to Michael. He wrote back wearily, 'Well okay then, but if I don't like it I'll let you know.'

Fortunately he did like it and wrote some wonderful words for the cover, and it gave me a tremendous boost. He also wrote with fond memories and writings he'd kept by my father, who died way too early in 1994. RIP Sir Michael Parkinson. I will always be grateful for the time you gave me.


About the Author

Sorrel Pitts own picture
Author Sorrel Pitts

Sorrel Pitts grew up in the ancient English landscape of Wiltshire, which is a strong presence in her writing. She worked as a magazine editor before moving overseas to teach English in Turkey and Spain. On her return to the UK she became Commissioning Editor for Macmillan Publishers and Editorial Manager for Oxford University Press. She is now living back in Wiltshire and is a freelance editor and writer. 

Sorrel’s debut novel The River Woman was published in September 2011 by Indigo Dreams Press. Michael Parkinson described her debut novel The River Woman as ‘a fascinating story written by a very promising writer.’ 

Sorrel Pitt's latest book 'Broken Shadows'

image of cover Broken Shadows author Sorrel Pitts

'In 1994, eleven-year-old Callum was abducted from his Wiltshire village. His body was found six months later by his older brother, Tom, near a Neolithic henge called the Shadowing Stones. It was the first in a series of events that would destroy Tom’s family; the boys’ father was a suspect but never charged, and their mother committed suicide a year later. Convinced his father was responsible for his brother’s death, Tom fled to Australia to start a new life.

Now, almost three decades later, Tom learns that his father is dying of cancer. Knowing this may be his last chance to uncover the truth, Tom returns to England. But when childhood acquaintance, Anna, forms a bond with Tom, old feelings are stirred. As he’s reluctantly drawn closer to both Anna and his father, Tom is confronted with a series of shocking twists and revelations that will change his life forever...' 

Broken Shadows will be published on 6th February 2024. 


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