Thank you for having me round your beautiful pool, Pauline. I shall just lie back here for a while and soak up this glorious sunshine.
Your first book Discovery at Rosehill, now has a sequel, but what inspired you to write these beautiful books?
My very first novel, “Discovery at Rosehill”, became a particularly important book for me to write because it was inspired by my late father. I know I made him proud during his life, but I wanted to continue making him proud after he’d passed in July 2001, and writing a book seemed like the perfect way to do that. He knew and understood my passion to write which is why I dedicated that book to him. Three years later, and two more books published, I was suddenly inspired to write a sequel of which I have called “Secrets at Rosehill”. With the main characters and a few ghosts from the first Rosehill book, I have created some new characters and spirits that reside within the house. I felt there was more to tell about Camilla and Marcus, and many people who read “Discovery at Rosehill” wanted to know if there would ever be a sequel.
Is it important to read Discovery at Rosehill before reading Secrets at Rosehill?
It would certainly help to read “Discovery at Rosehill” before moving onto “Secrets at Rosehill”. In Discovery, we get to know the main characters: Camilla, Marcus and Ross, not to mention the ghosts. The spirits have a significant effect on Camilla and this is talked about in the sequel, so if you haven’t read “Discovery at Rosehill”, it could be a little confusing.
I see you have had a new cover designed for Discovery at Rosehill, why?
It was quite important to have both covers for the Rosehill books matching. With the same background picture, cover designer Harrison Davies, has added ghostly figures on each cover together with day and night scenes respectively which I absolutely love. The paperback version is simply stunning and I really hope people will buy that to see how beautiful it is, not to mention how professional the formatting has been done, again by Harrison.
I know you use a professional editor, but is it important?
I think it is very important to hire a professional editor, cover designer and formatter. My editor, Elaine Denning, is definitely one of the most professional I have come across. She amazes me how she can turn her hand to any genre, working continuously until both author and editor are completely satisfied with the finished product.
I’m not at all technical and even though I did manage to format one of my other books myself, “Nightingale Woods”, it was a very difficult and stressful undertaking and one I really don’t wish to do again. I wouldn’t know where to start with a cover design but I have been extremely fortunate in finding some very professional people to do this for me. The cover of your book is the first thing people see which makes it absolutely paramount to have it looking perfect. And I can honestly say that I am thrilled with the new covers for both the Rosehill books.
A little excerpt from “Secrets at Rosehill”:-
In my peripheral vision, I saw the knob on Harold’s bedroom door move. His room was a sacred place, a space where I sat alone and gathered my thoughts. He helped me choose the paint for the walls that once crumbled, and the ceiling rose to replace the decrepit one that time had been unkind to. I turned my head, my eyes glancing towards the door. The knob once more flicked from side to side, unseen hands touching it anxiously. Harold often visited me, particularly when I sat in silence in his room, but I knew this wasn’t him. He wouldn’t have encouraged me to open the door by swift movement and corner of the eye motion; he would have simply opened the door for me, standing back to allow me to enter. He was a gentleman.
‘Who are you?’ I called. No response.
Fear built up within me as I suddenly thought about William Baxter, Harold’s older brother whom had committed that terrible crime of murder so many years before. I had watched the scene unfold as William’s knife plunged into Harold. Jealousy, bitterness and a needless cause for revenge. A brother’s feud spilled into murderous torment, depriving an unborn baby of a relationship with her father, and a toddler the chance to get to know the half-sister she only knew in death. I hadn’t heard from William since witnessing a ghostly altercation, a frightening experience as both men, burly and forceful, tried hard to beat the existence out of each other, the existence they now inhabited from the spirit plane. But their feud seemed to have ceased as William disappeared, leaving Harold, my mother and myself in the room at Rosehill that was once Harold’s bedroom. My mother, in spirit, had revealed the secret that overwhelmed our family for forty-five years, and I truly believed William would leave us in peace. He wasn’t wanted. He would have been forgiven in time as his soul moved on, his slate wiped clean, and would be given a chance to put right the wrongs he had inflicted, but we chose to ignore his spirit should it have presented at Rosehill. It was better that way. We needed to move on.
The door knob rattled again. I closed my eyes in anticipation, willing the spirit beckoning my attention to feel welcome. I touched the knob and turned it clockwise. The door opened and I stood for a moment staring at the four poster bed with its dark, newly varnished wood and the olive green velvet drapes hanging loosely at each corner. The room seemed empty; silent. But I knew differently. My mediumistic skills rarely failed me, and as I took a few tentative steps into the sanctuary that was once Harold’s space, a blast of cold air rushed past me, taking my breath away, as I was immediately drawn to the chest of drawers.
My love for dark wood extended to Harold’s room and antique furniture littered the Persian rug and the bare floor boards. The large Victorian chest stood against the far wall with a small number of scratches on its surface and some irreparable damage to its facade. A few ornaments sat on top of it together with a black and white photograph that Alice had left to me in her will. It was of Harold, Alice and Jane, and unfortunately, William was in it also. I never looked at William, however, as he meant nothing to me. The other three subjects were a huge part of my life of course, especially Harold, my father.
The photograph had been taken outside at Rosehill by my mother who was then Harold’s partner. She left him shortly afterwards and then he met his untimely demise at the hands of his brother. Devastatingly, my mother didn’t know she was carrying me at the time for I suspect if she had, there would have been no way she would have walked away from such a wonderful man. Alice had kept the photograph all these years and insisted I put it on display in Harold’s old bedroom once she had passed over.
I walked steadily towards the drawers and fixed my eyes on the picture of my family. But nothing came to me; Harold wasn’t there and neither was William. Alice and Jane were definitely not in the room either as it was usually typical of them to greet me with the aroma of lavender, an affirmation of their presence. The spirit that wanted to make contact was one I had never come across before, and I have to admit, it unnerved me.
I asked again: ‘Who are you? What do you want from me? Why are you in Harold’s room?’
A light tap came from the dressing table area on a different wall. Once again, I turned my head towards the sound, half expecting to see someone standing there. The atmosphere was heavy and somewhat oppressive, though it didn’t feel cold anymore, and I could sense I had been joined by a soul that could have graced Rosehill before.
‘Please give me an indication of who you are. Do I know you?’
Nothing. My eyes flitted around the room, exhausted as they rested on the window. Then before I knew what was happening, another gust of cold air hurried past me, almost forcing me to lose my balance, and I saw the outline of a woman in Victorian clothing. She presented only as a shadow and I suspected her energy was too weak to manifest. But the dress she wore was down to the floor and although I couldn’t see its colour, I assumed it to be black mourning attire. The name “Emily” lunged towards me, as though spirit was impressing an identity into my mind.
‘Emily,’ I said, gently. ‘Are you Emily?’
The tapping sounded again, this time more distinct against the dressing table’s surface. The shadow had moved and was now sitting down in the Queen Anne chair, seemingly staring into the mirror. I moved slightly, hoping to encourage the spirit woman to materialise, show herself to me in full splendour. But I was disappointed on this occasion, for the shadow began to fade and the long dress I had so wanted to admire, disappeared from my view. I was left staring at my own reflection, noticing brown curls resting on my shoulders and my skin pale through lack of sun.
‘Please come back, Emily.’ I spoke softly. I wanted Emily to be reassured that I meant her no harm. I had no idea who she was, but I knew I would one day find out.
Secrets at Rosehill is available at Amazon Worldwide and also on Amazon Kindle
I have read Discovery at Rosehill and have just downloaded a copy of Secrets at Rosehill and cannot wait to read it! Thank you, Kathryn, for sitting round my pool and telling us all about your fabulous new novel. Before you leave do help yourself to another slice of my Bailey's cheese cake!