Getting Serious about her Latest Series
The Ghost Club
My love affair with series began with our family’s weeknightly ritual of watching The Goodies. Each day the band of three scruffy Englishmen would safe the world from an epidemic of black puddings, giant cats or underfed British Beefeaters.
It was all very serious business….not the world-saving but the watching. No one could interrupt us…not the phone, other kids wanting to play, not dinner.
I knew my first novel, Max Remy Superspy, In Search of the Time and Space Machine, was going to be part of a series too, if I was lucky. I sent it to the publisher with a letter of future adventures, characters and storylines and they signed up the first two. Over ten novels, my feisty female hero gets dunked in vats of green jelly, crash-lands in the middle of the Amazon Jungle in an invisible jet and becomes trapped in a room full of leeches….the usual spy stuff.
I was then lucky enough to work with soccer champion Johnny Warren on a series of books called Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend). But not all story ideas are for series. My following two books, The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen and Grimsdon, were both stand alones, but after that, I knew my next idea was for another series.
Ghost Club came about because of the real Ghost Club in the UK, which was started 150 years ago by Charles Dickens and a few passionate ghost believers. It was rich ground for a series. There would be a wide variety of ghost equipment, different clubs around the world, a host of characters who belong to the club and others who come into contact with many and varied ghosts from all sorts of fascinating periods of history. It was a very exciting prospect.
After two single novels, however, I almost needed to teach myself how to write a series again. Each book still needs to grab the readers’ attention and keep them turning to the last page but the story is not done by that page and in some ways is just the beginning. I needed to plan and create longer character arcs, not only in how they develop as individuals but in how their relationships with other characters changes. I needed to create story opportunities for later, weaving small threads of ideas that could lead to other storylines in later novels.
Ghost Club Part 1: The New Kid see the two youngest ghost catchers, Angeline and Edgar, take the newest member, Dylan, on his first catch to a haunted castle. They love it but he is terrified due to something that happened two years previously. Ghost Club Part 2: The Haunted School is set in the abandoned boarding college of their school where they’re staying as part of a year 6 sleepover, only to find there is a young student from 100 years ago who has returned. Ghost Club Part 3: A Transylvanian Tale sees the catchers go to Romania for the annual Ghost Club Convention. There they will meet the world famous catcher, Ripley Granger and, of course, the most famous Transylvanian of them all, Dracula.
In each novel, they have their own self-contained story, but the characters are also getting to know each other, have their own fears, foibles and things to learn. Of course, like Dickens, I am fascinated by ghosts but in these novels I wanted to write about fear, about how we deal with it and if what we’re scared of is really that fearful after all but all while adding lots of mystery, adventure and fun.
We’d like to thank Deborah Abela for including us in her blog tour, a lovely idea we hope to see happening more often!
Some Links to interesting things;