‘In My Lady’s Chamber’ – An interview with Catherine Cavendish

Today, I am delighted to chat to Catherine whose Paranormal Suspense story, ‘In My Lady’s Chamber’ has just been published by Etopia Press.

If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a bit of background:

Upstairs, Downstairs, and in My Lady’s Chamber…

As soon as Lydia sees Goose Green Farm, she knows something’s wrong. Why would John bring her to a derelict farmhouse miles from anywhere in the middle of the Yorkshire Moors? Refusing her pleas to go home, she can see that something is happening to him. As they enter the house, he seems possessed by a sinister presence that draws him to it and threatens his very existence. A terrified Lydia knows she will have to do whatever she can to rescue him from the clutches of a spirit who is hell-bent on revenge.

Wanda:  Welcome Catherine and congratulations on publication of ‘In My Lady’s Chamber’.

Catherine: Thank you Wanda. It’s a real pleasure to be here.

Wanda:  Have you always wanted to be a writer, what led you to begin writing?

Catherine:  I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, certainly since childhood. I have always loved reading and creating my own stories. I was an only child so used to create fantasy characters with quite complex personalities and it grew from there. When I was nine, I sold my dolls’ house and did loads of household chores to save up for my first typewriter – a Smith Corona portable.

Wanda: Who is your favourite author(s)? Who has most influenced your work?

Catherine: I have a number of favourites – Armistead Maupin writes such wonderful quirky characters. Martin Millar does too. As far as favourites who have influenced my paranormal genre writing, I would say Dennis Wheatley, Stephen King and Anne Rice have been major influences as have Susan Hill and M.R. James.

Wanda: How do you begin a new story? Do you dive on in, or do you plan it out first?

Catherine: I tend to have an outline of a story and main characters in my head and then I’ll plunge in and start to write. Doing it this way helps me to get a real feel of who these characters are and what their world is like.

Wanda: Would you describe yourself as more of a character or a plot driven author?

Catherine: If I had to choose, I would probably go for plot but to me I can’t have one without the other!

Wanda:  As a paranormal suspense writer, what things in life do you find most terrifying?

Catherine: Ouija boards. Ignoring Dennis Wheatley’s sage advice to leave them alone, I did participate in a few when I was about 18. That is, until one never-to-be-forgotten experience when three of us had set out the letters etc in a circle on a stone floor. Everything was going fine until suddenly the glass started to spell out swear words and it felt very different under our fingers. Then it suddenly seemed to wrench itself away from us and shot across the floor, smashing to smithereens against the wall. The three of us went white and stared at each other for a few seconds before any of us could speak. I still, to this day, don’t know how it happened but I would never touch an ouija board again. Scary stuff!

Wanda:  What are you currently working on?

Catherine: A novella called “Cold Revenge” – a paranormal horror about four couples who are invited to a very strange dinner party where four of them discover that nothing in their lives is exactly as it has appeared to be and they are each about to get a frightening revelation.

Wanda: What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get published?

Catherine: First of all, learn your craft. There are many good books out there such as ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King. Read them and learn. Join a writers’ community website such as www.litopia.com where you will find support and guidance from other writers. Learn resilience – rejection is inevitable so learn to deal with it early on or you will just give up. When submitting, always do your research first and target wisely. Then, follow any and all submission guidelines to the letter. Be prepared to take constructive criticism on board and be as objective as you can about your own work. Finally, enjoy your writing and don’t give up!

Wanda: If you had to choose one person to have dinner with, who would it be? And why?

Catherine: Oscar Wilde. He was so witty, intelligent and flamboyant – a larger than life personality with incredible charisma.

Wanda:  Thank you very much for joining us today. Where can we find out more about you and, crucially, where can we find your book?

Catherine: Thank you for inviting me, Wanda. It’s been fun!  You can find me on my website/blog: www.CatherineCavendish.com. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Catherine-Cavendish/104439156305359

Twitter: @Cat_Cavendish

‘In My Lady’s Chamber’ is available from the publishers, Etopia Press: http://www.etopia-press.net/shopping/pgm-more_information.php?id=41&=SID

and will shortly be available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and a range of others http://www.etopia-press.net/shopping/pgm-more_information.php?id=41&=SIDher online booksellers.

Here’s an excerpt of ‘In My Lady’s Chamber’:

“It’ll take every penny just to fix the cracks in the walls.” Lydia drew her coat more closely around her as she surveyed the dilapidated farmhouse. All around her, the wind whipped across the moorland, scattering the few remaining leaves from an old, bent sycamore, sending them swirling into the air. High above them, the lonely cry of a curlew called, and the smell of approaching winter was everywhere.

“Goose Green Farm,” her husband John said slowly, as if trying to remember something. Lydia looked at him and frowned. Something was wrong. She couldn’t understand it. Everything had been fine, until…

“Oh come on,” Lydia said, “if we’re going to look at this place we might as well get on with it. Though why you would want to live in such a godforsaken spot I can’t imagine.”

“I love Yorkshire. I was born here.”

“Then what’s wrong with Leeds? At least people live there. Out here all you’ve got is the odd sheep for company.” Looking around her, she couldn’t even see one of those. There was no getting away from it. This was a seriously deserted farmhouse in the middle of a bleak moor that looked and felt as if it had stepped straight out of the pages of Wuthering Heights. At that moment, Lydia wished it would step right back in there, too.

She went to the front door now, but John hung back. Circling overhead, the curlew gave another plaintive cry. Her husband glanced up as if startled. Charcoal-colored clouds were massing, and a strange apprehension overtook her. This is crazy. It’s just a derelict old house. Get a grip.

“We can turn round and go back home, you know,” Lydia said, hoping he’d agree. “This isn’t for us. You’d have to be really dedicated to take this on. And you’d need to be a hermit, too.”

“Let’s go inside, Lydia. Please. I want to. Just for a minute.” He came up to her and entwined his fingers with hers. Damn him. He knew she could never resist him when he did that while looking at her in that special way, head slightly cocked on one side, a half-smile playing around his mouth.

“Oh, all right, then.” She gave his lips a quick kiss. “But just for a minute. I have a feeling it’s going to be rank in there.”

She guessed that the worm-eaten door had not been opened in months, or maybe years. It protested every attempt to move it with creaks and groans, like an old man who had been sitting in one position for too long. Finally, with his shoulder against it, John managed to open it wide enough for them to slide in.

“Bloody hell!” Lydia tried to take in the sight and stench that met her. Everywhere she looked, decay met her gaze. Piles of dead leaves, probably accumulated over a number of years, were scattered over grime-streaked carpets, and the smell of guano hung in the air.

“Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse,” she said. “This is hopeless. Let’s go.” She was about to leave when one glance at John stopped her.

Transfixed by the steep staircase in front of him, he began to chant an old nursery rhyme. “Goosey goosey gander, where shall I wander? Upstairs, downstairs, and in my lady’s chamber.”

Lydia stared at him. “John? What is it? Why are you reciting that old thing?” Then, to her horror, he started toward the stairs. She tried to grab his arm, but he shrugged her off. “Where are you going? Don’t be crazy. That staircase isn’t safe!”

He seemed not to hear her as he continued upwards, ignoring the protesting creak of each tread.

“John!” Lydia followed, sure that at any moment her feet would go straight through the wood.

At the top, he turned to look down, his face ashen and his voice now a child-like parody of his usual baritone. “I met a man who wouldn’t say his prayers. So I took him by his left leg and threw him down the stairs.”

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1 Comment

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One response to “‘In My Lady’s Chamber’ – An interview with Catherine Cavendish

  1. Thank you so much for this interview Wanda. I really enjoyed it. Also – update – ‘In My Lady’s Chamber’ is now available on Amazon worldwide in Kindle edition

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