Rayne Hall dishes on her latest: The Brides's Curse, a collection of Gothic Ghost and Horror Stories
AG: How did you come to write this book?
RH: Old buildings enchant me with their histories, their legends, their beauty. Near my home in Bulgaria I found many abandoned, derelict homes, their roofs caved in, tiles shattered on the floors, with broken furniture sticking out of the rubble and remnants of tattered lace curtains fluttering in the wind.
Spending time in these buildings, I let my imagination wander and asked myself every writer's favourite question: "What if?" What if someone had to spend the night in this house? What if the house wasn't really empty, because the dead residents still lingered as ghosts?
I wanted to share my love of Bulgaria, to invite them to visit these beautiful, eerie places with me, to experience the thrills from the safety of their armchairs. I wrote thirteen stories and gathered them in the book.
AG: Tell us a little about yourself and your writing
RH: I love to create spooky, suspenseful Horror stories in the Gothic tradition: more creepy than gory, more atmospheric than violent. I take readers to eerie places and let them experience spine-chilling adventures. Scaring readers is fun!
AG: What are your writing inspirations?
RH: Creepy places send my inspiration soaring: castle ruins, cemeteries, abandoned homes. Here in Bulgaria, the rural population is dwindling. Many houses stand empty once their owners die, and gradually fall into disrepair and ruin. They often have an eerie beauty that draws me in. Who lived there in the past, and who or what haunts them now?
In a neglected orchard, abandoned for decades, overgrown with thorny blackberries, I found dolls hanging from the mulberry trees, their arms missing, the limbless torsos swaying in the wind. Who hung them there, and why?
One house in my neighbourhood was the location of a gruesome murder - a body was found dismembered in the freezer, apparently the work of a ghost.
Once I went on a winter walk and found a set of footprints leading right up to a bricked-up doorway. The trail footprints finished at the wall, didn't lead back or away. Where had that person gone to?
These kind of personal experiences - mysterious, creepy, spooky - feed my writerly imagination. My head is constantly swirling with story ideas.
AG: Who created the illustrations?
Savina Mantovska is a Bulgarian artist. She drew the delightfully creepy pictures, one illustration for each story.
AG: Is this book part of a series?
I have written and published many short stories and gathered them in collections - including Thirty Scary Tales, one of my bestselling books. I plan to create more Bulgarian Gothic stories, and have indeed written the drafts for several already, so there'll definitely be another Bulgarian Gothic story collection coming.
AG: What project will you be working on next?
I'm always working on several books at once. I've penned drafts for another collection of Bulgarian Gothic stories, and I'm writing non-fiction books for my bestselling series of Writer's Craft guides.
I'm also working on a non-fiction guide for foreigners who live in (or want to emigrate to) Bulgaria.
AG: Do you write full time?
Yes, I write full time, mostly ghost and horror stories, and also non-fiction books. I started freelance writing in my spare time, then gradually built it into a part-time career, and eventually I took the plunge and made it my livelihood. This process took more than twenty years, during which I honed my skills to become a great writer, not just a good one. Year after year, I built a body of work, books I published years ago which continue to sell.
AG: One surprising or interesting fact about yourself.
My black cat Sulu loves to come for walks with me. Here in rural Bulgaria, it's safe for cats to be out of doors, and he enjoys exploring the sights, sounds and smells by the roadside. He joins me when I go rambling in the countryside, and he adores visiting abandoned houses. Often, he sits on the rafters looking down on me, or on an empty windowsill from where he can watch both me and the world outside.
However, there was one house he absolutely refused to enter. Whenever we went near it, his body stiffened, his back arched, and his fur stood up. Later, I found out that this house was haunted by an evil ghost. Do you think Sulu sensed something that I did not?
Rayne Hall writes fantasy, horror and non-fiction, and is the author of over seventy books. Her horror stories are more atmospheric than violent, and more creepy than gory.
Born and raised in Germany, Rayne has lived in China, Mongolia, Nepal and Britain. Now she resides in a village Bulgaria. The country's ancient Roman ruins and the deserted houses from Bulgaria’s communist period provide inspiration for creepy ghost and horror stories.
Her lucky black cat Sulu, adopted from the cat rescue shelter, often accompanies her on these exploration tours. He delights in walking across shattered roof tiles, balancing on charred rafters and sniffing at long-abandoned hearths.
Rayne has worked as an investigative journalist, development aid worker, museum guide, apple picker, tarot reader, adult education teacher, bellydancer, magazine editor, publishing manager and more, and now writes full time.
Her Book is available here: http://mybook.to/GothBG
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