Once upon a time, a young law student of St John's College Cambridge could be found sneaking out of the University Library and wandering into Heffers bookshop on Trinity Street. There he lost himself in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Many years later, older but not necessarily wiser, that same former student started spinning tales of fantasy in a university already steeped in myth and legend. And so began Cambridge Gothic.
After years working in an office and dreaming about becoming a writer, I can't tell you how much it means finally to see my words in print. So far, the reviews for College of Shadows have been both heartwarming and humbling. I can't thank readers enough for their positive and helpful feedback. Knowing how many people are looking forward to the next book in the series inspires me to keep writing every day.
As for the setting, I always felt that Cambridge would make the perfect backdrop for the fantasy stories I wanted to tell. I have kept the locations as true to life as possible, and readers tell me they think of the city as one of the characters of the story. I'm thrilled that is the case. It is a unique city with all sorts of quirks and mannerisms for those willing to see. Even after all these years, I still find it full of surprises, and I try to include these in my stories or my Facebook and Instagram posts whenever I can.
Given the authenticity of the setting, I sometimes get asked by readers if the characters are based on real people as well. I can honestly say they are all creations of my imagination. I've undoubtedly been influenced by people I've encountered over the years or by strangers I've observed when sitting in coffee shops, but there any similarity ends.
As an avid audiobook listener, I particularly enjoyed hearing them brought to life by the College of Shadows narrator, Howard Davey. Howard has done a fantastic job with the different accents, which he spent many hours perfecting, making sure they were right for each character. The Choir of St John's College very kindly provided an atmospheric introduction, A Clouded Heaven, setting a suitably haunting opening for the book.
If you want to hear more about Cambridge, the next novel, Gate of Shadows, my latest news or exclusive reveals then why not subscribe to my newsletter. All subscribers receive a collection of Cambridge Gothic short stories for free and also a sneak peek of the opening chapters of College of Shadows.
If you have any suggestions about characters, setting or plotlines for future books, please feel free to get in touch through my website or social media. I always reply when people contact me, and every comment is useful no matter how small.
That's it from me. I hope you enjoy the series and remember, it's Cambridge, but not as you know it...
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