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Black Beacon – Inspiration

Black Beacon is one of my favourite, and one of my most personal, books so far.

Black Beacon Christmas ghost story opening page

This is why:

One, it takes place on the Sussex Downs, near Beachy Head, and in Eastbourne, where I was born. I love this area of the south coast for the wide sweep of the Downs (broad, grassy hills, with small pockets of woodland); for the white cliffs that plunge into the rough sea with its red-and-white striped lighthouse; and for the pastel blues, whites, greys and browns of its pebble beaches. And Eastbourne, which I still visit regularly because my mum lives there, is a beautiful town with a grand, white parade of hotels and a gold-domed pier on the seafront. I even lived in one of those hotels for a while, when I was little and my dad was working there.

Two, the main characters, Theo and Nat, are loosely inspired by my grandparents, who I loved so much. They met after the war, when my German grandfather was a Prisoner of War. The story of how he was captured is astonishing – almost unbelievable – and I’ve included it in the book.

Black Beacon Christmas Ghost story back cover

Three, it’s about Christmas, in the 1970s, and what’s not to love about that? The heyday of glam, Slade, Wizzard, Brotherhood of Man… OK, before you go mentioning the winter of discontent I plead innocence. I was a small boy reading Tintin and playing with my dog. I adored Christmases then, always with my grandparents, they were one of the most exciting times of my life.

And lastly I love Black Beacon because I’m a horror fan and it’s frightening. At times, really frightening. The ghost is… pure evil.

So I invite you to read it and find out why – if you have the stomach for a proper haunting this Christmas, that is…

Black Beacon: A Christmas Ghost Story, is available on Amazon now.

Black Beacon Christmas ghost story proof copy