Why do you do scary books?

I love receiving letters from readers – recently I heard from Chatterbooks at Sherborne Library and it was great to hear from them. They asked about why I chose to write stories set on Portland, why the first book is based on a sea monster and why do I write scary books??

Great questions! Here is the reply:-

I started writing The Portland Sea Dragon a year or two after moving to Portland. I found it such an intriguing place to live. Having grown up in Hampshire, I found it fascinating to live somewhere that had castles and a lighthouse, as well as a long and interesting history. My children were very young when I started writing; they would ask me to make up stories at bedtime about Portland, and from this point my stories and characters started to take on a life of their own.

The sea monster is based on a local legend: – the Chesil Beach Sea Monster or Veasta is Dorset’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster. It has a fish’s tail and the head of a sea horse and has been seen across the centuries emerging from the sea by Chesil Beach, which connects Portland to the mainland. Having also read about a Pliosaur discovery on the Dorset coast (a huge, fearsome sea monster with rows of very sharp teeth!), I came up with the idea of a sea dragon. My dragon is a gentle, misunderstood creature, very ancient and mysterious. My favourite part of the story is when Isabel gets to ride with the sea dragon. What an amazing experience!

I love scary books – the more witches, dragons and monsters, the better! My scariest villain appears in the fourth book of the series, The Portland Giant – a headless horseman. As this story is set in the week leading up to Halloween, I felt that this was a good excuse to create lots of ghosts and dark shady characters to cause trouble for Isabel and her annoying little sister, Suzie.


2 thoughts on “Why do you do scary books?

  1. Hello Carol Hunt,

    I love Weymouth and try to get down there for a few days every year. I have fallen into the habit of looking for books by local authors and usually buy a book every time I visit. I was sad to see that ‘Imagine Books’ had gone so only had the bookshop near to the station to visit. He introduced me to ‘Portland Pirates’ which I enjoyed immensely. I am looking forward to my next visit when I will buy more from ‘The Portland Chronicles’. Keep up the writing – best wishes – John Maddock (aged 72 1/2).

    • Hello John, thank you very much for your comment. It’s great to hear from you. I enjoyed researching Portland Pirates, investigating our intriguing local links to pirates. Luckily I have friends who do proper historical research so I can borrow information from them! I hope you will have time to visit Portland when you are next in the area. It was a shame about Imagine Books – I miss them a lot. But I do enjoy the fact that there are readers of all ages reading my books! In terms of sales, Portland Pirates is just starting to catch up with the Portland Sea Dragon – there are a lot of pirate enthusiasts out there!

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