An award-winning novelist and University of Nottingham lecturer has used her own honeymoon as the inspiration for a new horror novel which has been published in time for Halloween.
Nicola Valentine is launching into the horror genre with her new book ‘The Haunted’, a spooky psychological thriller which asks how well do we ever know the person we married?
The novel tells the story of a honeymoon couple, Martin and Sue, who on arriving in the Scottish highlands, decide to escape their luxury hotel and spend a night in an abandoned shack miles from anywhere. When a storm strikes, they find themselves stranded and as their bickering grows to violent argument, Sue starts to sense they are not alone. Their remote shelter becomes a prison as their thoughts turn murderous.
Nicola teaches Creative and Professional Writing at the University’s School of Education and has also worked as writer-in-residence at the Nottingham University Samworth Academy in Bilborough, where she grew up. Her debut novel, ‘The Killing Jar’, won the Authors’ Club First Novel Award for its compelling tale of life on one of Nottingham’s inner city estates.
Nicola said: “I was inspired to write my new novel by my own honeymoon, bizarrely given that it's a horror story. My husband and I set out for a bothy (an old shepherd's hut you can camp in) in the middle of nowhere but we left a little too late. It got dark before we got there and we only had one torch, which was running out of batteries. There was a river we needed to cross to get to the bothy but it was too flooded so we had to turn back and walk back into the dark.
“It was a bonding experience, in the end, but quite frightening at the time. The highlands around us were pitch black and lonely and I realised what a great setting it would be for a ghost story. In my story, the couple get to the bothy but, once there, they get trapped by the flooding and are stuck for several days. Tensions build between them, helped by an evil presence in the hut, and they turn against each other.”
The book is being marketed as psychological horror because a lot of the action is driven by the state of mind of the characters, and their broken marriage.
Niki added: “I'm very excited about the release of my first book writing as Niki Valentine in the horror genre. It's the kind of novel I read and have always wanted to write. I'm hoping that it will bring to mind The Shining by Stephen King and The Turn of the Screw.”
‘The Haunted’ has been published this month in paperback by Sphere and is available from all good booksellers, RRP £6.99.
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