The moment has finally arrived! After months of work, the cover artwork and blurb for my debut, The Insect Room, are finally ready to be revealed!
Lord Rupert Lacy gives Caz the creeps. But her hippie mother and dreamy younger sister have fallen for his act and accept his invitation to move in. While it’s a step up from living in a van, the dilapidated mansion scares Caz. As she explores its lonely corridors, she begins to suspect that the reclusive aristocrat is hiding a dark secret. Haunted by strange noises and bizarre dreams, Caz tries to warn her family. Only nobody is listening.
In thrall to Lord Lacy, her mum begins to believe that Caz is unhinged and needs medicating. Increasingly desperate and isolated, the teenager feels compelled to take drastic action. Will it be enough to save them before it’s too late?
The Insect Room is a coming-of-age suspense that will keep you guessing right up until its shocking ending.
One of my biggest inspirations for The Insect Room was Rebecca. As in Daphne du Maurier’s novel, an outsider enters the claustrophobic world of a lonely aristocrat. However, while Rebecca is set in pre-war Britain, my novel takes place in the early 90s and is about a family of travellers hopping around the free party circuit.
My fascination with this world began during my teenage years in Worcester when a famous week-long rave took place at Castlemorton Common. After the festival, the police impounded the sound equipment of a group called “Spiral Tribe”. The collective then camped outside the police station in protest. The atmosphere in my sleepy town was electric, with the more conservative citizens scandalised by these New Age Travellers. We teens, of course, were thrilled.
Many of my friends went on to pursue this seemingly charmed existence. But living outside the system inevitably makes you vulnerable to those with real power, which is one of the themes I was keen to explore in The Insect Room.
A Sneak Peek
The musty old house in the novel, of course, has an insect room.
Inside was a long low room lined with flat glass cabinets. Behind the glass, rows of butterflies and beetles were pinned to yellowing paper. Their host trailed his long fingers along the wooden frames of the glass cases, and let his eyes pass over the rows of tiny corpses.
The collection has been neglected, like the house itself:
The cream wallpaper had turned a sour yellow and begun to peel in places. On one staircase, Caz nearly fell because the carpet had come away from the floor. Having long ago given up trying to escape, the desiccated bodies of dead insects lay abandoned and unclassified on windowsills.
It isn’t long before insects begin to swarm in Caz’s subconscious:
She dreamed she had put the Japanese mask on. She was in the insect room, peeping out through its eye sockets, the displays beginning to flicker, tiny wings fluttering ineffectually behind the glass. She peered down at a struggling butterfly. Its torso writhed, trying to free itself from the pins that held it down. The moon-like mask, reflected back at her in the glass case, loomed over the reanimated bodies, grinning sadistically.
If this sounds intriguing, visit my Facebook page for more information. The release date is February 15, 2022.