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#AmQuerying THE GRAVEDIGGER

Bram (12) always has a half-baked scheme up his sleeve. He lives on an island in the North Sea where, in the sprawling underbelly of catacombs, his family tour business breathes life into tragic ghost stories.

But business is dwindling. Tourists barely disguise rolled eyes and pitiful smirks, leaving damning reviews in their wake. Worse than that, Bram’s ill-conceived hoax-video of “bona fide ghosts” royally backfires. Legendary supernatural debunker, Cressida Strange, gets a whiff of it. She posts a fatal reply to expose the fraud live from the island in a special broadcast on Halloween night. With closure already looming, it’ll be the final nail in the coffin for the family business. Bram has 24 hours to fix it.

Armed with his phone and a new plan to knock Cressida Strange off her warpath, Bram sweet-talks his friends into a ghost-hunting stakeout in a forbidden part of the catacombs. Maybe they shouldn’t have gone through the mysterious Red Door. When it slams shut behind them, Bram’s blood runs cold.

Trapped in a mind-bending labyrinth of forgotten paths, dead-ends, and stirring graves, Bram battles to keep his plan on track. But the Gravedigger—a vengeful spectre ruing a lifetime of injustice—stalks the tunnels. Relentlessly tormenting every sorry soul in the catacombs, the Gravedigger wants to add Bram to his collection. Can Bram make it to Cressida Strange’s broadcast in time? He’s got to make it out of the catacombs alive first.

THE GRAVEDIGGER is a read-it-with-the-lights-on gore-free ghost story, perfect for fans of The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier with the eerie atmosphere and mounting dread of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Prince of Mist.

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About Me

ME THEN:

I’ve always loved books. You can thank my Nan for that. A day out with her would involve going to the local library where everyone knew her name and always had the newest book saved under the counter for her, and we’d emerge an hour later with a stack as tall as me. When we got back to the farm, she’d toss the books in the tumble dryer so the dogs and the geese couldn’t get at them (there’d been a few book-casualties in the past), and then, later on, she’d pull one out, slide it across the table and say, “Try this, Gen. The author’s really good. Their books are a bit scary…so don’t tell your mum”. And I’d get that little flutter of excitement in my belly.

Half English – half Mauritian, I grew up in Essex and moved to London when I was eighteen. I spent over a decade working in bars and restaurants where I had every job in the book – from Kitchen Porter to General Manager. But my favourite time of the day was getting on the bus at 2am on Shaftsbury Avenue or Waterloo when I’d finally be able to pick up where I left off in the book I was reading. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed my tube stop because the whole world outside my book had disappeared. Of course, days off involved heading to the ring of charity shops in Crystal Palace, scouring the bookshelves for more!

But reading books wasn’t enough. I wanted to be a writer.

Imposter syndrome held me hostage for many years. Was I too old? Too inexperienced? Could I really do it? The impossible dream. But there was also another tiny voice: you’re driven; you’re hardworking; you’re determined. Is there a book in me? YES, there’s a book in me. There are loads!

In 2013 when I was thirty-years-old, I moved to Switzerland to start a new chapter in my life.

ME NOW:

I write every day. I’ve never been happier. And my pyjama collection has grown considerably.

Since 2013 I have thrown myself into all things writing. I’ve studied, workshopped, devoured craft books, practiced, practiced, practiced. I’ve experimented with genre; I unearthed a love for Middle Grade fiction. I’ve discovered a community of likeminded writers and found fellow people passionate about the craft that I’m lucky to call my friends. I’m always learning; I’ll never stop learning.

Naming my favourite books is an impossible task. There are books I’ll return to that are imbued with nostalgia – Lord of the Rings, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Narnia books. As a kid, I journeyed through the Goosebumps books, then Point Horror, before I graduated to adult horror – so those books will always be dear to my heart, and to this day I’m still chasing the next spooky-book-high. If you were to peruse my burgeoning TBR today, you’d find it brimming with Middle Grade. I adore books for that audience and would list The Graveyard Book, The Night Gardener, Small Spaces, and The Jumbies among my favourites…but the list could go on and on and on…

When not writing (and if I’m not reading), you’ll probably find me planning Christmas and baking: I run a Christmas recipe website where I can feed my passion. I love art and painting. I’m a happy geek and will binge-watch the heck out of the Lord of the Rings (extended, always), Star Trek, Doctor Who, Star Wars, anything Marvel, all Disney. I love action movies: talk to me about Die Hard, John Wick, and anything from the 90’s. I’m a lifelong Manchester United fan, I love Formula 1, and snooker. And I’m a passionate advocate of ocean conservation. Three of my favourite possessions are: my replica of the Holy Grail from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, my candleholder shaped like Gandalf’s staff, and a Manchester United scarf my dad bought when he emigrated to England from Mauritius in 1973.

MY FUTURE

I’m lucky to have found something that makes me truly happy in life and know that whatever lies ahead – my constant will be writing. My ultimate dream is for a kid to dress up as one of my characters on World Book Day. Yes, I’ve got a long way to go until that dream may be realised. There will be hard work with highs and lows on the horizon, but I’m raring to go and I genuinely believe that perseverance pays off in the end.