“Every reader re-creates a novel - in their own imagination, anyway. It's only entirely the writer's when nobody else has read it.” – Susan Hill
English author Hill, who celebrates her 75th birthday today, is a leading light in the modern day “gothic” world. Her novels include The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror, and I'm the King of the Castle for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2012 for services to literature.
A champion of traditional English “ghost story” style (which relies on suspense and atmosphere to create impact), Hill has written both “ghost” stories and eerie suspense, including (since 2004) a series of crime novels featuring a protagonist detective named Simon Serrailler. That series is now being adapted for television. Her ghost story Woman in Black, done in 1983, has also been a long-running play on London’s West Side and is a great example of her descriptive gothic style.
to temper the writing to the length of your story. “If you were writing a short ghost story, I would say start very quietly and go, 'One, two, three jump.' Or start with a jump and make it jumpier,” she advised. “With a long story, it must have both rises and falls.”
Books help to form us, Hill said. "If you cut me open, you will find volume after volume, page after page, the contents of every one I have ever read, somehow transmuted and transformed into me."
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