A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.
It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.
Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.
Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?
In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?
When and where do you prefer to write?
My times for writing usually occur in the afternoons, though I have been known to carry on until the early hours if I’m on a roll and nothing more urgent (like meals,etc) needs to be done.
I share a rather cramped office with my husband, so it can get a little difficult at times, especially when I am trying to write a tense, emotional scene and he is swearing at his computer (we both do that!). However, the good news is that I have been promised a study of my own; our spare bedroom will, hopefully in the not too distant future, be transformed into a super-duper writer’s workspace, with room for all my research books, maps, and other bits and pieces.
Do you have a certain ritual?
No, nothing like that. I’m usually so relieved to get time to write that I just get on with it.
Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
I very rarely eat or drink when I’m writing. I get so engrossed that I forget about everything else. However, my husband is very good at bringing me tea, coffee, or water if he thinks I’m overdoing things. I think my years working in an environment where food and drink was not allowed in the workspace – I worked with priceless historical manuscripts – I’m pretty much conditioned to going without.
What is your favourite book?
That’s a very difficult question to answer; there have been so many books I’ve loved. If I had to single one out it would be Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Beautifully written, with wonderful characters both humorous and grotesque, and lots of sly references to the English class system. She also tells important truths about life for females in the early 19th century, how restricted their lives were and their reliance on making a good marriage to avoid poverty and destitution.
Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
Well, I already write in two different genres, historical mystery/romance and contemporary mystery/romance. I’d quite like to try my hand at crime fiction or a timeslip, but whatever I do, history will work its way into the story!
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I use little character traits that I’ve observed in real life and some characters in my books are inspired by actors I’ve seen on screen, but no character I’ve created is entirely based on a person from real life. All the characters in The Unquiet Spirit are completely fictitious – even Sal the dog!
Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Yes, I have a notebook in my bag when I go out and there is also pen and paper on my bedside table. Some of my best ideas have popped up in the middle of the night!
Which genre do you not like at all?
There isn’t a genre that I totally dislike. As long as something is well written I’ll give it a go. I’m not a big fan of dystopian fiction because I feel that the real world is challenging enough without imagining a worse one. Having said that, recently I read a dystopian novel which, although imagining a world where something dreadful had happened, it finished on a very positive note. I dislke stories which end in doom and gloom offering no hope to the reader.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
What a good question! I’d love to co-write with Stephen King, the master of horror and suspense. His stories are always compelling, drawing the reader in and taking them on a thrilling roller-coaster ride.
- If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
A really difficult question! I’ve visited most European countries, so I feel I know them well enough to construct a story set in each one. However, in the interests of accuracy I’d be more than happy to return. I’ve visited Belgium many times, but I’ve never been to Waterloo. Because my historical novels are set during the Napoleonic Wars, I’d love to go there, I’m sure it would help me to imagine my story. France is another place, but this time it would be for a contemporary novel – who wouldn’t enjoy mystery and romance in Paris or perhaps on the Cote D’Azur? It’s many years since I visited Greece, I can see myself setting a modern day thriller there, with car chases through the Pindus mountains.
So many places to see and so little time!
Thank you, Els, for choosing The Unquiet Spirit to feature on your blog. I’ve enjoyed answering your questions.
Thank you, Penny Hampson and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.
Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.
But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.
Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).