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As the weather gets more autumnal and the wind scratches at the windows my thoughts are turning to Halloween. Halloween is my absolute favourite festival, so much better than Christmas with its 6 month build up, Halloween is just fun from start to finish. As a special ghoulish treat this week I have a guest blog from writer Paul Holbrook. His novel Domini Mortum is extremely close to being fully funded by crowdfunding publisher Unbound. I know how this works because my own book 15 Minutes has just been released by them. Paul is offering some great pledges in his crowdfunding campaign, not least one which should appeal to even the most fearless ghost hunters.

Hello Paul tell us about your book?

Domini Mortum is a novel set in late Victorian England, and set in London, York, and the village of Pluckley in Kent.   21032874_10214086403215790_5586207500886656430_n

It tells the story of a journalist called Samuel Weaver, who has travelled down to London from his native York to work as an artist and reporter for The Illustrated Police News (the preeminent tabloid of the day).  Weaver is obsessed with a series of murders which occurred six years earlier in London and the man accused of the crimes, who died before he could be brought to justice.

Weaver travels around London, and to Kent, to meet people who knew the accused, in the hope of writing a book about him.  However, the more he finds out about the murders, the more he becomes embroiled himself with the people and organisations who have the most to lose by being exposed in the press.  Meanwhile another set of murders has begun in London which hold a much darker and foreboding purpose.

Domini Mortum is a tale of how single-minded obsession can lead to a person’s downfall, and how it is impossible to escape from the sins of your past.  Once a heart is blackened by deeds, it can never recover.

The book is currently the centre of a crowdfunding campaign by the publisher Unbound.  The way it works is straight forward; each book has a cost in order to get it published.  Lovely generous members of the public give their support to the book by pledging to buy it.  Once enough people have pledged and the target amount is reached, the book is published and everyone who supported it gets a copy with their name inside on a list of people that made it happen.  It’s a quite brilliant idea, to get books published that people actually are interested in and want to read, rather than books that a publisher thinks the public wants.

How can people pledge?

Pledging is easy, all you have to do is visit www.unbound.co.uk/books/domini-mortum have a read of the synopsis, the excerpt, and then decide what pledge level you want to support the book at.

Once you’ve decided, it’s just a case of clicking that button and entering order details.  If you’ve pre-ordered a book from Unbound before, then you will have an account already.  I’m so glad that I am publishing my book through Unbound, the quality of the authors on show on their website is extraordinary, and I find myself wanting to support quite a lot of books there.

One of the pledges catches my eye in particular, the ghost walk. Can you tell us a bit about this pledge and what it entails?

Ah, the ghost walk, yes.

“We do not have time to enter the ‘Screaming Woods’ this evening, my friend, which is a terrible shame as it is an experience to be savoured,” he said holding his arm across my chest.  “The eldritch howls of the long and recent dead can be heard throughout the night, and it is a brave man who dares enter.  Few have tried and they left in such terrible states that they ended their days unable to speak of what they saw, most were placed in asylums, gibbering wrecks of men, hollow of mind and bereft of soul.” 

“What did they see in there?”  I asked awaiting a terrible tale of murder, suffering and the afterlife. 

“See?  See?  I don’t know, Samuel.  Did you not you hear me say that they never spoke of it?”  He lowered his arm and paced away muttering under his breath.

The ghost walk pledge came about because of a section in the book which is based in Pluckley in Kent, supposedly the most haunted village in Britain.  In the book Samuel Weaver visits the village as part of his investigations, and ends up taking part in a drunken ghost walk with a local called Edward Higgins.

The character of Edward Higgins, is named after a friend of mine, who I definitely had in mind while writing the story.  Samuel and Higgins experience the full horror of the ghosts of Pluckley during their tour, which is both humorous and frightening.

In writing the book I did an awful lot of research into Pluckley, watched countlesYouTube videos of ghost hunters visiting the various haunting sites, and read just about every word ever written about the village.  For those lucky people that pledge for the ghost walk, they will get a copy of the book, with their name inside, as well as making their way to Pluckley where I will meet them, have dinner and a drink or two in the Black Horse (the pub which Samuel Weaver stays in) before heading out into the dreadful night air to experience such sights as The Devil’s Bush, The Screaming Woods, and St Nicholas church where the famous ‘Red Lady’ has been sighted, as well as many other spooky stops along the way.  I will of course be inviting my friend Edward Higgins along, to make it all a bit more authentic to the book.

It’s a very adventurous pledge, but one which I am really looking forward to fulfilling, it will certainly be a night to remember for those who take up the challenge.