Thank you, Esther Chilton, for hosting me on your blog today with this author interview. I really enjoyed answering your questions, especially What’s the hardest thing you find about being a writer?
Many of you will know the very talented author, Robbie Cheadle. I’m thrilled she agreed to be my author interviewee this week. In the interview, she tells us about her latest book, how she goes about her detailed research for each of her books, how she gets her ideas and much more.
Q. Your book Through the Nethergate, for young adults,was published in the summer. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
A. Through the Nethergate is essentially a story of the on-going battle between good and evil in the world. What differentiates this book from other books with a similar theme, is that there are a lot of historical characters woven into the storyline who tell their stories as part of the overarching storyline. In addition, technology and modern politics are tools used by the devil to manipulate people, on mass, into negative and potentially evil thinking.
Margaret is a young girl, recently orphaned and sent to live with her grandfather in an ancient inn in the English town of Bungay. Margaret has a gift whereby she can see ghosts and when she is in close proximity to them, they reincarnate. The inn is haunted by a number of ghosts who are all slaves to their evil master, Hugh Bigod, the most powerful of the phantoms. The ghosts hope to use Margaret’s gift to escape their eternal servitude, but things don’t go as planned when Hugh comes up with his own plan for Margaret. Margaret and the ghosts soon realise that Hugh’s evil is nothing in comparison to Lucifer, the guardian of hell.
Q. You clearly enjoy writing books with a supernatural theme. What do you most enjoy about writing in this genre?
A. From a very young age I enjoyed ghost stories and I started reading books by Stephen King and Peter Straub at ten years old. They scared me to death, but I loved them. My favourite stories were the ones about ghosts and other mythical creatures. I also enjoyed books based on “real-life” supernatural events like the story of the Mary Celeste and the ships and aeroplanes that have disappeared in the Bermuda triangle. I have a few books about South African ghosts which I have read many times over the years and which are treasured possessions.
I enjoy writing in this genre because ghosts interest me. I like to find out the basic details of a ghostly presence and then make up a story about their lives and how they died weaving in the true facts. I find this type of writing comes easily to me and I have lots of ideas for stories which makes it appealing to me.
Q. You also enjoy writing horror stories. Which do you prefer and why?
A. Many of my horror stories are also paranormal or supernatural in nature. It is easy for me to imagine the rage and anguish of a ghost who did badly and wants revenge on a person or group of people.
The first two horror stories I wrote for one of Dan Alatorre’s short story competitions were The Willow Tree and The Haunting of William, both of which appear in Dark Visions, a horror anthology, edited by Dan Alatorre. The Willow Tree is about a serial killer and is based on a real murder that occurred when I was a child and the bodies of the victims were found under a willow tree outside a shopping centre. I don’t recall any of the details, so this a fictionalised account, but the idea of bodies under willow trees haunted me for years afterwards. The Haunting of William was developed from a two-sentence account I read of a ghost who committed suicide after discovering she was pregnant and that her lover had left her.
The three short stories I wrote for inclusion in Nightmareland, the sequel to Dark Visions, are all paranormal horror stories. The Siren Witch is about a flesh eating witch who enchants her victims through her lovely singing and them murders them. A Death without Honour is about an escaped convict who murders a couple in the mountains near Paarl in South Africa. The Path to Atonement features a young girl who commits suicide and blames her employer and certain colleagues for her death. She sets out to destroy them all.
One of the two short stories published in Whispers of the Past paranormal anthology, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth is about a controlling grandmother who comes back to haunt her granddaughter after her death. This is my favourite of all the short stories I have written as I love the idea of this grandmother who was like Sinbad the Sailor’s “old man of the sea” during her life time. The other short story, Missed Signs, is about a boy who contracts rabies.
I don’t really have a preference, but I do seem to gravitate towards the paranormal in my historical and horror writing.
Carry on reading here: https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/17/author-interview-robbie-cheadle/