Article/page published: 09 January 2017
Last updated: 14 January 2017
It was a seascape, moody with rocks and cliffs and wild showers of spray. Ellie’s own reflection was drawn into it, like a ghost image among the lights and shadows.
“That’s our island,” Morag said.
“It looks mysterious.”
“It is. That’s where we’re going tomorrow.”
Ellie desperately needs a break from home, and is very excited to be going away with Morag’s family to their beautiful island. But when she finds herself abandoned there, things begin to change. Footsteps, shadows, strange lights, a haunting song; more and more she becomes aware that she is not really on her own. Desperate to keep herself sane, she paints feverishly, trying to capture what she is experiencing, but she is also haunted by memories of what has been going on in her home life, and by the growing realisation that she is beginning to fall in love.
I love islands, and I love the sea. I spent my childhood on the Wirral coast, and frequently visited Hilbre Island; since then I have spent time on other islands, sometimes being the only person there. In The Company of Ghosts I am drawing on memories of visits to islands where I have been both enchanted and afraid, and I have used my imagination to write a ghost story that uses all the mystery and beauty of an isolated island, where the only sound is that of the sea and the gulls and your own breathing. The island in my novel is based on a Scottish island that I stayed on some years ago. I was with my family, but the memory of something that happened when I was there has stayed with me, and probably always will.
Photos by David Brown
Below is a video about the book that Oldham libraries asked me to make. The video was made by Kirsten Johnson.