Outside the wind howls around the gables of the house and whistles down the chimney. It’s the perfect weather for a good ghost story and my next author really knows how to tell one – I’m delighted to welcome back Historical Novelist and ghost story author Pam Lecky.
Pam Lecky is an Irish historical fiction author, writing crime, mystery, romance and the supernatural. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Society of Authors and has a particular love of the late Victorian era/early 20th Century. Her debut novel, The Bowes Inheritance, was awarded the B.R.A.G Medallion; shortlisted for the Carousel Aware Prize 2016; and long-listed for the Historical Novel Society 2016 Indie Award. Her short stories are available in an anthology, entitled Past Imperfect, which was published in April 2018. She is currently working on a Victorian mystery series. Pam is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency in London.
What draws you to the paranormal as a genre?
The primeval instinct to be afraid of the dark was hardwired into us. It helped early man survive and I guess it is difficult to overcome. Fundamentally, the question of what is really out there has intrigued and scared me since I was a child. I believe our physical bodies die but our spirit does not. So I guess I’m searching for some answers. An uncle used to tell ghost stories that terrified me and I dreaded them as much as I enjoyed them. The thrill of being scared is addictive.
In your opinion, what are the essential components of a great ghost story?
A good ghost story is a distortion of reality, playing on the reader’s fears, usually death, the dark or some unexplained and unsettling experience. The best stories don’t explain, but leave the reader’s imagination to fill in the gaps. For me, the setting is of great importance and as a writer you can give free rein to your prose! The most effective descriptions drag the reader along as your protagonist faces an unknown force or a strange eerie place.
If you could have a celebrated horror/ghost story writer (living or dead) endorse your writing, who would you pick?
Mr. Poe, of course!
What is your favourite character from one of your works and why?
Sally in The Lighthouse Keeper is probably one of my favourite protagonists. She desperately tries to explain the unexplainable with logic yet can’t resist listening to her intuition telling her everything is not what it seems. She’s also brave and I am the complete opposite!
Have you ever experienced a supernatural experience or ghostly encounter?
Once as a teenager, I was alone at home reading a book. Suddenly, three loud raps echoed through the room, coming from a closed door dividing the room I was in from the dining room. When I looked up, totally in shock, the cat, who had been fast asleep, had raised its head, its ears laid back and it was staring directly at the door. I knew it must have heard it too. So I scarpered out into the back garden, terrified, with the poker in my hand! Until someone came home, I didn’t budge. Never found an explanation for it but the room from which the raps had come had always been strangely cold and a room I avoided.
The Lighthouse Keeper by Pam Lecky
It’s Sally and Alex’s first weekend away together and romance is definitely on Sally’s mind. But why is Alex acting so out of character? When strange things begin to happen, Sally wonders if they are truly alone in their coastal getaway …
Excerpt from The Lighthouse –
“As the sleepless minutes slipped by, she became aware of the wind picking up; a lonely plaintive sound, making her uneasy. No wonder her mind was playing tricks. From now on she would stick to admiring lighthouses from the outside.
The floorboards above creaked. Then there were footsteps and the sound of something being dragged across the floor.
Suddenly her body was humming with adrenaline and she broke out in a cold sweat. Her senses were straining and all at once the overpowering smell of kerosene pervaded the room. Terrified, she could not move. The sound of metal scraping against metal sent a shiver down her spine. To her horror, as she watched, a powerful beam of light flitted across the opening to the upper level. Impossible, a voice inside her head said, but there it was again: a sweep of light that lit the room with an intensity that hurt her eyes.
She bolted from the bed. Almost tripping down the steps in her haste, she lunged at Alex.
“Wake up!” she shouted at him, shaking his arm.
Alex groaned and slowly opened his eyes. He stared at her, coughed and ran his fingers through his hair. “What the hell, Sally? I was fast asleep.”
“The lighthouse is working – there is someone up there!” she whispered hoarsely.
“Don’t be daft, Sal. This place was decommissioned years ago,” Alex said, sitting up. He stretched his arms over his head and yawned. “You must have had a nightmare,” he said, getting to his feet.
“I did not imagine it, Alex. I heard footsteps and noises. Then I saw the light.”
Alex stood uncertain, then suddenly grinned. “Must have been those prawns, eh?”
Sally knew it was a lost cause; he would never believe her. She tried to smile. “Maybe.”
“Bed – come on,” he said, pushing her towards the stairs.
“No! You go first,” she said, hanging back.
Alex scowled. “This is ridiculous, Sally.” He went up and disappeared from view. She followed very slowly indeed.”
Find out more about Pam and her work below: