On September 24th, Quercus Books will publish Neil Spring’s THE WATCHERS. To the right you can see the rather excellent cover. Here’s the synopsis:
At the height of the Cold War, officials at the Ministry of Defence conducted a highly secret investigation into unusual events that occurred along a strip of rugged coastline within the Pembrokeshire National Park nicknamed ‘The Broad Haven Triangle’.
The events made national headlines: lights and objects hovering in the sky, ghostly figures peering into farmhouse windows, cowering animals, and poltergeists plaguing a terrified family of witnesses.
Thirty years later, official files pertaining to these occurrences were finally released for public scrutiny at the National Archives. The disclosure prompted a new witness to come forward to speak of what he knew. His testimony rocked the very foundations of the British Government.
This is his story.
As a bonus, JFB have provided a quick Q&A with Neil. Read on for more about the novel, Neil’s writing and more…
The Watchers is loosely inspired by real events that occurred in a remote Welsh village back in 1977 – events that caught the attention of the Ministry of Defence. Lights and objects hovering in the sky, ghostly figures peering into farmhouse windows, cowering animals, and poltergeists plaguing a terrified family of witnesses. This book explores the characters behind these events, their family histories, and what happens in a small community when horrors are unleashed.
How do you research your novels?
It’s different each time. For The Watchers it was very important to establish the setting, so I hired a cottage in Broad Haven and wrote much of the book there. I also went to the government archives in Kew, and interviewed many of the witnesses to make the events in the book feel that much more authentic.
What’s your writing schedule like?
I tend to spend a few months thinking about a story before getting down writing it. That process takes many months but doesn’t feel that long because I write pretty much every day and every weekend. It’s not work, I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy reading.
What plans do you have for your next book?
Book 3 is set in Oxford. It has a plot and a structure and a title, and the writing is going well. Stories are rarely born like this for me, but the moment I had the premise I knew which way it was going to go.
What inspires you?
People who aren’t afraid to work hard.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t talk about writing. Just write. And if it’s not working, know when to stop.
Now for some lighter questions: What’s you comfort food?
How can it not be Macaroni cheese? Or Mum’s Apple Tart. Or lasagne. Or pizza, or… clearly I need to see a fitness instructor.
What’s your favourite tipple?
Red wine every time. Unless gin is on offer… And who can resist an espresso martini?
What keeps you sane?
Honestly? My partner, Owen. He is a tremendous grounding force. He’s also very patient, which anyone living with a writer needs to be.
What would people be surprised to discover about you?
I work full time as Director of Communications for an international television company.
That’s a tough one. On my last holiday I read The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse, and would thoroughly recommend it.
What scares you?
Read the book or watch the film first?
Always read the book first.
Night in or night out?
Right now I am re-reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell before it airs on the BBC. I do love that book – so atmospheric and magical. Incidentally, Portia Rosenberg, who did the illustrations for Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell also illustrated my debut, The Ghost Hunters.