Catherine Cavendish is the British author of THE PENDLE CURSE, WAKING THE ANCIENTS, and many more. She’s got a thing for Gothic tales and writes a damn near perfect one herself. Her latest release, THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE (Flame Tree Press, Out January 10th!) , adds to her growing legacy of wonderful ghost stories.
She sits down for a quick chat with Share the Horror to talk about the new book and her new publisher, Flame Tree Press.
Share The Horror: What’s done is done. Samhain Publishing implodes, you did well for yourself between that happening and now, landing back with our bud, Don D’Auria, you’ve found a home with Flame Tree Press. Congratulations!
Let’s talk about the new book, THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE. It’s a fabulous read. When did you start writing this one and is there any of the stories “history” that is based of real life?
Catherine Cavendish: Thank you. Yes, I’m delighted to be working with Don again and impressed with Flame Tree Press.
As for THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE, the location is inspired by one of Edinburgh’s leading tourist attractions – The Real Mary King’s Close – which is located on the Royal Mile, in the city’s Old Town, between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. Edinburgh was built on a granite rock and over the centuries became so crowded, they had to build upwards and as close together as possible – hence the creation of the Closes. The buildings were several stories high, and were effectively the world’s first skyscrapers.
As time went by, the richer folk moved out to the newly built New Town and the Closes became poorly maintained tenements. I reference all of this in my story. In common with my creation of Henderson Close, The Real Mary King’s Close is reputed to be extremely haunted. It’s a fascinating and spooky place to visit. I’ve been there at least three times and will be going back. Likewise, some scenes occur in Greyfriars Kirkyard which is real and has many legends associated with it – including the infamous Mackenzie Poltergeist.
STH: I loved the way you flawlessly and seamlessly went back and forth to the past and present day within the story. I know some authors get off track. I’ve read stories where the back and forth is jarring and I find myself wanting to get back to the present story line. Yours was done extremely well. Do you find that an easy thing to do in a book? How much attention do you place on making sure it doesn’t take away from the current story you’re trying to tell?
CC: I have always been comfortable writing about the past – in some ways more than the present. I’m one of these nerdy types who actually enjoys doing the research to get historical details as accurate as possible, although I do try and avoid getting too bogged down in it where the story is concerned. It does help me to have the back story in my head when I write though. It’s a balancing act and I have to stop myself getting so wrapped up in the historical bit that I neglect the present day. I have to remind myself
that the past is generally there because it is influencing what is happening in the present.
STH: Who was your favorite character to write in this one and why?
That’s a tough one. I probably felt closest to Hannah because of where she is in her life, but I have a real soft spot for Miss Carmichael who was quite courageous in her own quiet way. George is a great guy I would love to have as a friend and go for a ‘wee dram’ with. Mairead was fun to write because, of all of them, her character is the most complex. Donald Bain was a nasty piece of work so I enjoyed writing him too. I haven’t done very well with this question, have I? 😉
STH: Ha! No worries. You did a fantastic crafting each of them. I can see how it’d be hard to choose.
For me, you’re the current queen of Gothic ghost tales. Would you ever consider switching it up, trying a slasher or vampire or werewolf story, or are you quite comfortable in your lane?
CC: That’s kind of you to say. I am up against some tough competition for that title ☺. I will confess that I don’t feel comfortable delving too deep into slasher territory – although there is some violence in my stories, where the story warrants it. I think others write that type of graphic horror much better than I do. I’m talking to one just now, aren’t I?
Ditto with vampires and werewolves. I don’t exclusively write Gothic but do feel very much at home among the shadows, the darkness and all things ghostly…
STH: I know Don always wants to know what we have for him next. So, I know this book is just coming out, but is there another story ready or in-progress that we might see on the Flame Tree line?
CC: Well, there is a novel I have recently completed…
STH: Thanks for the quick chat, Cat. Much luck and success for you and THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE.
CC: Thank you so much, Glenn. Always a pleasure to chat with you.
Grab your copy of THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE here:
Hello, my name’s Catherine Cavendish and I write horror fiction – frequently with ghostly, supernatural, Gothic and haunted house themes.
Out now- from Kensington-Lyrical – the third in a trilogy – DAMNED BY THE ANCIENTS – set in Egypt and Vienna and featuring the sinister Dr. Emeryk Quintillus whose obsession has stayed with him past the grave. This completes the NEMESIS OF THE GODS trilogy which started with WRATH OF THE ANCIENTS, followed by WAKING THE ANCIENTS.
My novellas COLD REVENGE, MISS ABIGAIL’S ROOM, THE DEMONS OF CAMBIAN STREET, THE DEVIL INSIDE HER and THE SECOND WIFE have now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.
My novels THE DEVIL’S SERENADE and SAVING GRACE DEVINE have also been released in new editions by Crossroad Press, as have my novel of the Lancashire Witches – THE PENDLE CURSE – and my novellas, LINDEN MANOR and DARK AVENGING ANGEL.
I live with a long-suffering husband and a delightful black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshiped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue.
Our home is in a rambling building dating back to the mid 18th century, haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV.
When not slaving over a hot computer, I enjoy wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.
Follow her on Twitter
My short review:
Another great ghost tale from Catherine Cavendish. The end of the book was awesome! I couldn’t put it down!
Come to Henderson Close and find out what haunts these old streets!
Highly recommended for anyone that loves a good ghost story!