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Friday, February 17, 2012

Interview with a Writer of Ghost Stories: Alan Place from the UK

Alan Place, Author

We asked Alan to tell us about himself and his books, his inspirations, his proudest moments, how he relaxes, and what makes him the ghostly and wonderful writer he is! This fascinating UK author shared some of his personal and professional stories with us today.

Originally I am from North Yorkshire, the area around the setting for my stories 'Ghosts of St. Mary's,' 'The rocking lantern,' 'The ship inn,' and the 'The lost ship.' 

We moved to the Bristol area in the winter of 1963. I moved to Bristol when I got married 25 years ago. It is a lovely area as it is full of history.

I think my interest in ghosts goes way back. The supernatural has always fascinated me; add a mysterious appearance and you have me.

I have been to Northern Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, The USSR, Canada, Holland, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, and Austria. Sadly, last year I had a serious accident and though I planned some outings in the UK, I no longer feel I can trust my left Achilles tendon, therefore cannot travel farther than across town in case of further injury. I did most of my travelling during my Royal Air Force days.
Most of my books are on the Bookrix site, at the moment in rough form. I also have books done on the Amazon sites in the USA & UK, as well as Barnes & Noble, and hopefully soon on the Waterstones on-line store, here in UK. I'm in the middle of negotiations with a dealer for them.

I'm presently writing a Medieval series about a group of people forced from their homes by a huge fire caused by a comet. This story follows them as they travel to a nearby city to start again.

Also I wrote a short collection of ghost stories, 'Apparitions.' I've also written a light comedy book 'The P A Canella chase,' which now is linked to my 'Chronicles' sets.

Just released is a new set, 'Pat Canella' (Cold case series) which centers on a young female Private Investigator, in a fictitious US city and her attempts to get recognized for her work. This has a supernatural element to it as well.

My books cover most of the genres. I have written fantasy/horror. The soon to be released on-line and ebook 'Chronicles' sets, tell the story of ex-glamour photographer Mark Johnson as he tries to find the real stories to sell his photos. Tired of the shallow celebrity scenes, he starts solving mysteries and then turns demon hunter.

 I do like Poe, as well as Sheridan Le Fanu & M.R. James. I don't think in terms of a writer influencing me as much as the style of writing. I always liked the old Black & White films, which is what you can probably detect, I hope. Rather than have a lot of action to fill pages, I tend to fill the pages with tension building to a climatic end. I am pleased you can see the influences of the masters in my style, thank you for the praises.

What are some of your favorite books by other authors, and why?

That is tricky question to answer (laughs, as I read so many types of books and authors. If I had to choose, I like the adventure and mystery of Clive Cussler. I like the thrills of Warhammer books, the chills of the Victorian ghosts. I also like the works of my good friends Yezall Strongheart from Texas  and Valerie Byron, who, though from Cheshire, has lived in California since the late 1970s. 

Chronicles is a series of stories linked by Mark Johnson's fight to control demons, both of the elemental and inner variety. The two that will be out shortly are the first two.  I have so far written up to story eighteen, with the idea of going on further and doing maybe another six or seven stories. I did not intentionally write them with an order in mind, they just fell into neatly set series. Book 1, the first seven stories, tell of Mark and his fight to stay a recluse. Book 2 tells of how he lost the lady whom he thought loved him, and how he went over to the dark side for revenge (very dark). Book 3, currently being written, tells how he fought her again on a spiritual rather than physical level. I plan to leave Book 3 with a nail biting climax for the fans.
Apparitions was intended as a small collection of ghost stories, which I may break up and sell as smaller items. 

I started 'Dockland Murders' with the idea of a misconception of someone looking for Pat, thinking he was a tough Irishman or an Italian, not a young girl. However that changed when I saw the cover I had won. I then went for more of a ghostly feel as I was asked for a supernatural story.  The genre is dark-noir/supernatural. I was going for a feel like a female Phillip Marlowe with a super-natural essence. Hopefully, this will be the first in a series. I have the follow up book 'Ghosts of your past,' half written now. I had not really written dark-noir before; however, the ghost element I've focused on since my first stories in 'Apparitions.'

My proudest moment in life was delivering my daughter Fiona without a mid-wife.

My proudest moments as an author were getting my first story published on line, back in October 2011, getting my first book published, and getting 'Chronicles' serialized this summer.

Are you self published or traditionally published?

I suppose a bit of both, as some stories are published via the sales tools for Some I have to do for myself on and now hopefully Waterstones.

What are some of your hobbies?

I like to garden and over the years have become proficient at growing fuchsias and herbs; herbs I also use for my cooking. I used to do a lot of photography. Many covers feature my work but that has been stopped since my injury.

What do you do for relaxation, Al?

I write stories, listen to Native American music, and I'm starting to read again. I like to go for short walks as well these days.

To whom do you owe your greatest inspiration and success in life?

My success as an author I attribute to my great friends Ruth Slattery, Hazel Jackson, and Jane Houlding, who helped me stay focused in October of 2011, when I was very close to quitting writing. In my personal life, I can think of my English teacher Glyn Thomas. He was a lovely man and saw my potential even then, and we always got on so well.

What are some of the barriers to success that you see in your life as an author?

Anyone who knows me, will tell you the same answer. I am my own barrier. As I am far too self-critical of my work, too analytical, and overall I don't really think I am that good. I am modest and  not self assuming.

I think self publishing is the thing for an Indie writer to start with, the thing is as I found out you have to find your own outlets at time, which these days is not too hard as many publishers distribute only to set lines. It depends who you go with. I am in favor of Bookrix. Their system is cheaper than many, easy to use, and has good coverage. I am not sure about Smashwords, as they seem to be mainly East European & Asian, which will cause a lot of translation issues, I feel.

Is there anything further you'd like to add that I haven't touched on, Alan?

I cannot overemphasize the use of a blog. Because of my blog I've obtained readers from all over the world. Also, put yourself on as many social media sites as you can. I use Facebook, LinkedIn and Bookrix. Basically, the more visible you are, the more viable you are.

There you have our author of the moment, Alan Place. Look for his next series of books out soon, available on and other venues as noted above. Thank you, Al, and good luck with your new ventures. You're certainly a busy bee there in the land of Hope and Glory.



  1. How interesting! I'm going to have to check out Alan's ghost stories ...

  2. I prefer Apparitions but there are more. He's an interesting guy, collected ghost stories from First Nations here in Lac la Biche I understand.

  3. Great interview with an interesting writer. Alan has not only taken words and run with them, he is a great motivator in writing, blogging, and promotion.

    A great all around guy!

  4. AAAaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwww shux ladies, I just do my little bit for friends, I am so glad that you like it though :)