Hello! And welcome to another Sunday Sojourn, today, talking to Shani Struthers, who I shared blogs with back in January – welcome back, Shani!
Hi Shani, tell me about your latest/current release.
My latest release is Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street. It’s the third book in the Psychic Surveys series plus there’s a sequel as well: Eve: A Christmas Ghost Story. I anticipate six main books in this series, so there’s another three to write! Each one tries to deal with a different psychic aspect, and in this one it’s reincarnation. There’s the case of Elisha Gray to unravel, which gets decidedly stranger as the book unravels as well as the ghost of Gilmore Street, a case that is attracting public attention, turning it into the new ‘Enfield’, a genuine historical case from the 70s. The press is having a field day over Ruby and the Psychic Survey’s team’s repeated failures to evict him, in turn impacting on Ruby’s business and reputation. Ruby reaches crisis point, in more ways than one…
Do you use real or imagined settings? Or both?
The Psychic Surveys office is located in Lewes High Street, a town 5 miles from where I live in Brighton and which I know very well. I use real locations there, including The Rights of Man pub, which is Ruby’s favourite, bookstores, shops etc. Ruby and the team also come to Brighton a lot and again I use street names and places that are real. 44 Gilmore Street is based on a real street in Brighton but I’ve had to give it a fictional name! I do tend to take a few liberties for the sake of art on occasion!
Tell me about the research process – are you able to stay focused, or do you get distracted easily by new, interesting snippets or facts?
I’m actually very focused. I’ve been self-employed as a copywriter for twenty years now and am well used to working to tight deadlines. Interesting snippets or facts can distract me though, and if they’re related to the subject I’m researching they can be quiet enlightening, making me change a certain angle of the book or the way in which I say something. So it’s a constructive distraction at least. As for Facebook distracting me, don’t get me started!!!
If you could have written the back catalogue, or even just one novel, of any other writer, who would it be and why?
I love Ann Rice’s ‘The Mayfair Witches’ series so I’d like to have written that – not only is it highly original, they contain such a lot of good information on the occult/supernatural too. My mother is a big fan of Dennis Wheatley, and she always said the thing that elevates a book from being ordinary is if you can learn something from it. I draw on a lot of fact in my books; I also talk about the real life work of Occultists such as Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, and Alexandra David-Néel (among others), so hopefully there’s stuff to learn in my books too!
If you could visit any historical event or period (as a witness only, no interfering!), which would it be and why?
I used to have a real passion for Arthurian history, I must have read every book – fact and fiction – on the subject, so it’d have to be something during that period I think. The Dark Ages, it sounds so dramatic doesn’t it? I’d like to go back to 6th century Britain, see if there’s talk of a war commander named Arthur, if he was really real – some sources say he was, some insist he’s just fabrication. Sit round a campfire with a few of the locals, prompt them a bit, see what they have to say! An ambition of mine is to write an Arthurian novel, but that’s a long way off yet.
And how about re-writing the history books? Which single event would you rework, how and why?
I’d rework King Arthur – I don’t think he was a king, I think he was a war commander, drawing on Roman tactics to win battles against the Saxons – to hold back the tide of invasion, which in the end proved overwhelming. Although a man of huge importance and influence, I’m always a bit disappointed when the books portray him as a king. Damn the realist in me!
Finally, you’re allowed a whole afternoon with anyone from history – who would you choose, and what would you discuss?
I think Winston Churchill would be a bit of a giggle to spend an afternoon with. I’ve got a fascination with World War II as well and so I’d let him tell me all about that, focusing on his oratory skills and how they rallied everyone so much. He really did inspire so many. I also find it interesting that he wasn’t so successful before the war or after, but during the war, no one could have done his job better.
Thanks Shani! You can find out more about Shani and her writing using the following social media links:
Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9
Psychic Surveys Three: 44 Gilmore Street
“We all have to face our demons at some point.”
Psychic Surveys – specialists in domestic spiritual clearance – have never been busier. Although exhausted, Ruby is pleased. Her track record as well as her down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach inspires faith in the haunted, who willingly call on her high street consultancy when the supernatural takes hold.
But that’s all about to change.
Two cases prove trying: 44 Gilmore Street, home to a particularly violent spirit, and the reincarnation case of Elisha Grey. When Gilmore Street attracts press attention, matters quickly deteriorate. Dubbed the ‘New Enfield’, the ‘Ghost of Gilmore Street’ inflames public imagination, but as Ruby and the team fail repeatedly to evict the entity, faith in them wavers.
Dealing with negative press, the strangeness surrounding Elisha, and a spirit that’s becoming increasingly territorial, Ruby’s at breaking point. So much is pushing her towards the abyss, not least her own past. It seems some demons just won’t let go…