Thirteen years ago, I visited a small village in Derbyshire in the UK by the name of Foolow. It’s situated a mile down the road from Eyam, the village that shut itself off from the outside world in 1665 to stop the spread of plague. There is not a lot in Foolow aside from an 18th Century pub prized for its menu, and a duck pond. Beside the pond is a stone structure with a set of worn steps leading down to a lapping pool of water and a barred gate. The whole thing fascinated me. It looked like the perfect place to dump a body.
Using the structure as inspiration, I developed the plot for the title story of The Passages of Melton Hall and other stories. I did dump a body down there, hiding it temporarily until the characters could dispose of it. But there was something more sinister lurking in the darkness behind the barred gate.
The photo I took back in 2006 was fuzzy and had been taken with a two megapixel phone camera. It was good enough for me to look at and I used it to create a vector graphic for my book cover, but I couldn’t share it with an audience.
I was lucky enough to revisit Foolow on the 7th of May this year. I made sure I took photos with a much better camera from various angles. Someone had also cleaned the gate since I had last visited, so it was no longer covered in a veil of slimy things. This did take away from the spookiness of the place a little, but in its cleaned state, the gate also looked more prison-like.
Now, when people ask where my inspiration as a writer comes from, I can show them some decent pictures, like these below.
The Passages of Melton Hall and other stories is a collection of eleven dark and disturbing stories and is available for purchase on Amazon from the 13th of May 2019. I dare you to have a read to find out what twisted things my mind can conjure based on an innocent looking stone structure beside a duck pond.
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