Alison Littlewood’s Seasons of Mist – the author speaks
Grab it while you can Flowers, those nice people at Jo Fletcher Books have collected three great books by Hothouse favourite author Alison Littlewood into one fantastic eBook omnibus, Seasons of Mist and for the rest of this month (June) it’s all yours for just under a fiver (UK) instead of the usual retail price of £12.99. The three spooky reads are Path of Needles and The Unquiet House as well as the Richard & Judy bestseller A Cold Season, more chilling than a bucket of icy lager down on the beach! But don’t just take my word for it, Alison dropped into the dungeon to tell us all about it:
‘The three novels included in Seasons of Mist had very different beginnings. As you’d expect from a horror novel, A Cold Season was born out of the things that scare me: the loss of loved ones, people we think we know behaving in unexpected ways, and being faced by forces we can’t control. Landscape played a huge part in it, too. At the time of writing I was travelling across the Pennines to work in Saddleworth every day, and we’d just had the worst winter for years. I’d seen the moor in all weathers – it was incredibly eerie in the fog, which is how the novel opens – but crossing it in the middle of a blizzard was pretty frightening. The moors are beautiful but can be extremely bleak, something my main character, Cass, soon comes to discover when she is marooned by snow. I’d also been thinking of writing about Faustian pacts, when it struck me that of course I needed to set the story in that landscape. It came as something of a revelation, and things came together quite quickly after that.
Path of Needles came together from the opposite direction, as it includes a lot of the things I love, though me being me, they appear in a dark and twisted form. I’d adored fairy tales since I was a child. Really, they’re the first horror stories, with evil witches, deep forests, prowling wolves and, worse still, murderous parents or step-parents. And monstrous things happen in them, which children never seem to worry too much about; after all, it’s only a story. I started wondering what would happen if some of those things happened in reality. The result was a contemporary crime novel with some rather gruesome aspects, though there is a fantasy element too: the heart of fairy tales, for me, was always the hint of the possibility of something magical existing in the world, and that came through in the development of the novel, with some of the characters seemingly being caught up in a fairy tale of their own, one with a dark and threatening cast.
The Unquiet House was a different journey again, this one into the past. I had the idea that I wanted to write a haunted house novel, but one where the narrative would travel backwards in time rather than forwards, shedding new light on what is happening in the present. Having set myself the challenge of including a police procedural element in Path of Needles, here was a whole new mountain to climb. I had huge doubts about whether I could manage the historical sections, but I tend to think these days that unless I feel I’m setting myself an impossible task at the outset of a novel, I’m not doing it properly!
As it turned out, I absolutely loved doing the research that was needed to get the historical sections right. It was great fun to play with the different character’s voices and personalities too. Of course the house itself is the constant character, bringing the different strands together at the end of the book. It’s set in Yorkshire, where I live, as is Path of Needles. The house is fictional, combining aspects of various places I’ve seen, but a sense of place is just as important as in the other two books in Seasons of Mist.’
Thank you Alison, Seasons of Mist is one of the two eBooks that make up Jo Fletcher Books’ #HolidayHorrors – horror so good you’ll need to read it in the sun. the other is Tom Fletcher’s Thin Places which features his loosely linked sequence The Leaping, The Thing on the Shore and The Ravenglass Eye. Both omnibuses retail at £12.99 but throughout June can be purchased for under £5.