Please welcome paranormal suspense author Pauline Holyoak to Book of Secrets today! Her supernatural thriller Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge is the first of a new trilogy. I had the opportunity to review Pauline's book, and it was amazing! Click HERE to check out my review. I'll turn things over to Pauline:
I grew in Southeast England, in a coal mining village my husband calls, “The place that time forgot.” It is nested between the notorious city of Canterbury and the medieval town of Dover. I came to Canada (as a nanny) when I was 21, in search of adventure and a new life. I live in Spruce Grove, Alberta with my sports crazy husband, adorable sheltie dog and cantankerous ginger cat. We have two grown children. They are the gems in my treasure chest.
As far back as I can remember the pen and paper have been my faithful companions and story telling my forte. As a child I would sneak away from the mundane adult world, find a private retreat (usually behind the garden shed) and imagine. There in my own little sanctuary I'd conjure up all kinds of intriguing tales and colorful characters. In my teen years my journal became my confident, revealing all my hidden secrets, private fantasies and wild notions within its pages. Later I started to write poems, articles and short stories, and pondered the thought of becoming a writer.
When I immigrated to Canada I buried my dreams under layers of real life clutter. I chose a safe and practical career in child care, married and raised a family. But my creative spirit kept trying to dig its way out. I was asked to write articles and editorials for our local church. I taught a story time class at the school, which lead me to writing a children's book. I wrote an article about my husbands' prestigious grandfather and sent it to our local newspaper. They printed it. I kept sending them articles, they kept printing them. I was surprised at the compliments I received from the editor and readers. It was evident to me then that I had excavated my creative spirit.
I decided to take a comprehensive writing course to improve my technique. With help from a proficient and supportive tutor, who told me I had a gift, I began to cultivate my skill. My articles started to sell and I received an assignment from a major Canadian magazine. I have spent the past few years working on my novel Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge (a trilogy) and two children's books. I have a diploma in creative writing, along with a certificate complementing my creative skills. I have a boundless imagination and a wealth of experience to draw from.
I love horror movies and being scared…Not the… “Hey I think I smell smoke” scared, but the creepy, spine-chilling, spooky stuff scared. When I was a young girl my friend and I would wander through the local cemetery just before dark, read the tombstones and make up stories about the people that were buried there. Good grief….I was weird.
I ran away from home when I was 17 years old, to join a band of hippies and live on the streets of London. I went to challenge the establishment, proclaim peace, escape from the hum-drum village life and find myself. I lived in la…la…land with the flower children for a year but I never did find myself. I have now. Thank God!
I write long hand in my purple room, at my antique desk, under a large picture window and then I type it into the cold inanimate piece of equipment I call my computer and edit as I go.
I write to explore my inner world. I write because some mystical magnet draws me to my desk. I write to escape the mundane world of people and things. I write because I need to write. To me it’s a sort of innate longing, to get my thoughts, wild fantasies, opinions and stories on paper. The words come to me from some magical realm.
What inspired me to write Merryweather Lodge:
Every summer, when I was a child, we would visit my aunt and uncle at their quaint little cottage on Salisbury Plain. It was called Scotland Lodge and was situated not far from the historical Stonehenge. My uncle worked as a farm hand for the local squire. My aunt tended the manor house. It was there as I roamed free, deep within the English countryside, that I experienced joy, enchantment and some very strange and frightening occurrences. It was like a fairytale kingdom with a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland (the old place still emanates a strange and eerie essence) and was lead by some mysterious force into concocting this story and writing this book. It is from my mystifying experiences at Scotland Lodge that this book has emerged.
When Emily Fletcher meets the gorgeous Jonathan McArthur she is infatuated and consumed with passion. Will he go with her to the dreaded wood-lot, to remove the bloody ancient curse, before it’s too late? In the first half of my story Emily is fourteen years old. In the second half she is forced to return to the cottage, at the age of twenty. My novel contains elements of horror, humor, fantasy, romance and sex. I have created a world into which my readers can escape and an atmosphere that will evoke their imagination, stir their emotions and engage their senses. This book was inspired by my own experiences in a remote little cottage near Stonehenge.
"Let’s go somewhere private." She said, grabbing my arm. She guided me to the passage and plunked me down on the bottom step of the attic stairs. My back straightened. Panic rose within me as an icy shiver ran down my spine. It was as if I had been lead to an old cemetery, sat on a grave and left among the tomb stones.
“That was her room you know.” She said as she pointed up the stairs.
I turned my head ever so slowly and drew eyes up to the portal at the top of the stairs. I shivered and quickly looked way. “I know it was.”
In a low voice she whispered. “Do you suppose she’s still up there?” Then she grinned mischievously.
I looked into her strange glassy eyes. “She was, the last time I was here and I have a feeling she hasn’t left.”
My advice for would-be authors…. Write something every day, even if it’s only a paragraph. Learn to live with rejections; don’t let them nag at you. Believe in yourself and your work. Never, ever give up on your dreams. Faith, patience, perseverance and bold determination are what all successful authors have in common.
I am now working on the second book of my trilogy… Merryweather Lodge – The Malevolent Spirit…
Merryweather Lodge – A quaint little cottage, steeped in history, shrouded in secrets, its aura a paradoxical essence of heaven and hell. Go into this book if you dare and experience my protagonist’s strange and eerie journey there…. Available at http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/
Thank you for being with us today, Pauline!