Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dead Haunted - a chat with Claire Barrand

I recently came across this little gem and knew I had to share it.

The characters and storyline are well thought out and beautifully crafted. The paranormal flavour adds spice to the mix and makes this one of the best books I have read in quite a while.

Claire Barrand understands how to weave a wonderful tale and draws the reader in, holding them fast until the last page.

I can't wait to read Dead Haunted 2.

I hope you enjoy this page turner as much as I did!

Check out Claire's fantastic book trailer here

What are the books about?

Dead Haunted and Dead Haunted 2 are both collections of supernatural stories, inspired by events from 19th Century Gothic Wales.

Claire Barrand weaves these spooky tales using her ghoulish imagination, as she delves into the disturbing possibilities that lurked behind these nightmarish stories of murder, revenge, and ghostly hauntings.

Can you give us an idea of what some of the stories entail?

The Brynmarsh Ghost

This three-part chilling tale begins when an 11-year-old boy senses the presence of a chilling apparition watching him.

A tangled web of unforgiving and grisly secrets start to unfold; a murder, an illegitimate child, and a dreadful accident are about to catch up with the residents of Tywyll House.

Bloody Mary's Revenge

The horrific discovery of prostitute Mary Connolly is found murdered in Aberwayne. This leads to the hanging of ruthless and coldblooded murderer, Rhys Davies, who shows no remorse as he stands with the noose around his neck. However, he soon discovers that death brings no escape from his crimes and he must face Bloody Marys' revenge.

Author Bio

I was born in Timperley, Manchester and raised living above the Antique Shop my parents owned. I had a few strange experiences there and often wonder if some of the objects were haunted. My sister Linzi and I witnessed the full apparition of a ghost in my bedroom aged just 11, before we relocated to Abergavenny, South Wales aged 12.

An interest in the paranormal was always in the cards and Wales opened up a whole new side of the supernatural to me. I fell in love with the local stories of fairies, witches, giants and magical standing stones and there began my fascination with folklore stories. I managed a very haunted pub in Bristol for two years in my twenties, the ghosts were troubled, a man who had been murdered by his brother and the cellars had tunnels leading down to the docks where some horrific things had taken place like dog fighting, bare knuckle fighting and slave trading.

Writing about my experiences and researching have been my passion for years. I have written for many publications such as Haunted Magazine, Paranormal Magazine, Spooky Isles and many other online publications and local newspapers.

I have a website and blog which is updated regularly with articles about Welsh Folklore, Dark History, and Ghost stories
Click the pic to go to the Amazon book page

When did you first realise that you wanted to be an author?

I think from the moment I discovered stories I wanted to write stories. At primary school my favorite lesson was always English, and when we were asked to write a story they would be pinned to the display board. Mine were always pages long so had to be hung up with string whereas other kids would maybe write a page or two!

How long does it take you to write a book?

Oh gosh! I am not one for counting words or having targets and am quite a lazy writer. My first book took me 40 years and my second six months! Hopefully the next book wont take as long, but I have learned that it is not the writing that holds me back, it is the editing and finishing process that is the frustrating part. Thankfully I have had some great help from my editor, Kathy Denver, she edited my books and designed the amazing covers for me, without her Dead Haunted would still be on my computers hard drive!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Ha! I have many quirks. I must have food with me. And several mugs of tea get consumed whilst writing. Writing makes me hungry! I also love to have an incense stick or scented candle burning in my office. It has to smell nice. Music is a no-no – I need silence. There is enough noise going on in my head.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Ooh! My favorite part of my stories is the research! I trawl newspaper archives looking for unusual stories dating back from the 19th century. Wales Online has a fantastic resource now where I can search keywords. Mine are always dark search terms like “death” and “murder”! I am always amazed at the stories I find in the archives, it is like opening Pandora's box.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Oh I wrote a book when I was in primary school! I don’t remember much about it, it was about my cat and held together by sellotape. My first published book was only released last year and I am .. um.. *cough in my early 40’s!

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I am a mum, I have 4 children and lots of animals so that keeps me pretty busy! I am a part time paranormal investigator whenever I get chance to, I join up with a team or some friends and get my boots on the ground, you cannot write about things unless you experience them and one thing I am not is an armchair researcher. Another thing I find invaluable is para-con events. Listening to other people is the best way to learn. If I have any time after that I love to read, meditate, get my nails done or visit a spa with my best friend.

What does your family think of your writing?

I have had a very mixed bag of reactions. Mostly I have had very positive reactions though thankfully. Sadly, writing is still seen by many as a bit of a whimsical arty-farty way to spend one’s time, reserved for romantics and fantasists. Unless I suddenly write a New York Times best seller, I don’t expect others to appreciate how much it means to me as a writer to have published a book, which is fine. My husband and my best friend have been the most supportive and given me great feedback and encouragement. My kids couldn’t care less, they just want to know what’s for tea. My Nana who is 97 read my first book, and it was a bit too dark for her, but I love that she took the time to read my book and was proud of me! 

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre? 

It was a natural thing, it kind of just happened. Being drawn to dark subject matter, I began listening to gothic rock music as a teenager and was fascinated by the lyrics. So there began my research. I suppose I just write about what moves me, about the things that disturb me enough to give me nightmares. And the stories I found through my research did just that. I felt compelled to put my thoughts down into words.

Where did your love of reading/writing/storytelling come from?

My Dad and my Grandma. Dad was just the best father any little girl could ever wish for. He would read to me from a very early age. I would sit on his knee with a pile of books and he was so patient. He wasn’t much of a reader himself oddly enough, but he did read to me and my sister as kids. Enid Blyton was my favorite! Grandma would tell me stories about the “olden days” and I was fascinated by how my own ancestors used to live.

What inspires you?

Where I live inspires me. I am so lucky to live in Wales, surrounded by incredible lush green mountains and valleys, waterfalls, canals and beaches. When I get out there into nature it makes my heart soar to look around me. I have to pinch myself sometimes.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed being absorbed into the lives of my characters. I almost become them when I write. I love the feeling I get when the thoughts start flowing faster than I can type.
Click the pic and follow Claire on Amazon

Who are some of your favorite authors and what, if any, impact have they had on your writing?

I read an eclectic range of books, from Jackie Collins to Jessie Burton. Jackie Collins has had a huge impact on my writing because if you look beyond the glitter and wealthy characters, you’ll find a common theme in her work is about women being powerful. Revenge and retribution are also big topics of hers and I love the adrenaline that these stories give you. I loved how her stories would weave twist and turns and shock factors all the way through them and I couldn’t put them down. I try to ensure those themes run strongly within my own stories too! 

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

Part time. Ahhh yes, it’s difficult and frustrating when all you want to do is hide away and type but instead you have to get the dinner on or iron a school uniform! And it is hard to find motivation after a busy day too. But I think its ok as long as you make notes when inspiration hits and then you can attack the keyboard when you get the opportunity. Children grow up fast and I don’t intend to miss their childhood because I was locked away in an office. I am patient and my time to write full time will come.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

Well, it is based on true stories, and although many true stories are rewritten with artistic license I think its rare for a book to take on news stories where we never knew what the cause, the ending or outcome was, and give it an ending anyway. Nowadays we get the full double story behind murders and deaths, the court details and family members give reports. We didn’t have any of that 200 years ago. Someone was found dead, maybe presumed for example it was a “suicide whilst temporarily insane” and that was that! Well, I give the stories a story. 

What projects are you working on at present?

I am currently writing the final stories for Dead Haunted – The Collection where all fifteen stories will be published as one final book and released in paperback format too! I am also planning to write a novella.

I also continue to write my supernatural and folklore blog focusing on Wales at every week as well and am always looking for new stories and themes to add. I have also been working with a small team developing ideas and concepts for television and can’t say too much about that as I don’t want to jinx it, but things have been interesting and have future potential!

Another thing I also do is make book trailers for other authors! I made my own trailers and thanks to Kathy who designed my book covers, who recommended me, I have been asked by a few people to make theirs so if anyone is interested, then I have links on my website, or we have a Facebook group called iPublishglobal - Cover City (link

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but no one has?

Ah I am SO glad you asked that ha-ha! I wish someone would ask me if, when I am researching the stories and then begin to write them, do I feel a connection in a psychic way to the people in the story that the events really happened to?

My answer would be YES! I do not claim to be a medium or psychic in anyway, I don’t like “labels” however I am sensitive. I believe everyone creative is channeling something from within them and for me it is emotion. One of the things that I can do is pick up emotions of others very well and whilst writing some of the stories I get so drawn into this bubble, that I can almost hear their voices telling me what happened, and I feel their pain. I dream about them and things are “shown” to me. When I wrote the story “The Dead of Night” I was in floods of tears writing about the death of Nesta’s baby boy. And writing “Moon” was equally moving for me. I discovered this poor girl had drowned in the canal only a few hundred yards from my home in the 1800’s. She had been seen in some distress a few hours before. I felt that I was on the right path when I wrote why she had committed suicide that day and the tragedy of her story haunted me for weeks. I still feel her presence when I walk my dog along the tow path and I say “hello” to her.
Click the pic to go to the Amazon book page

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