Natural and Supernatural in fiction

The compelling aspect when reading supernatural plots is that odd things happen within a context of ordinary, natural life.

If the whole world is ghostly, there is nothing scary or unsettling about the appearance of another ghost. But if the world seems its predictable, even boring self and then the unnatural event occurs, that can put a chill up the spine of the reader.

This isn’t a genre I normally write, but I do take a lot of interest in uncanny coincidences. I decided to write about one. the result was A Ghostly Assignment.

I don’t usually write about mainstream characters. I like the quirky, unpredictable ones. they’re fun to write and create dialogue for. But I’ve given this story two perfectly straightforward students who encounter the unexpected and have to deal with it.

There’s a glance at history, too, and my surprising coincidence had to come in. Witchcraft became a capital offence in Britain in 1563 although denounced as heresy by Pope Innocent VIII in 1484, after which some 200,000 witches were tortured, burnt or hanged in Western Europe. Most supposed witches were usually old women, and invariably poor…but not always. When disasters occurred, there was no scientific body to explain infections, illnesses, failure of crops, wild weather. Another imaginative explanation had to be found by sufferers: Who is causing this? and if you were a stranger, outcast or different in any way, your luck might be out.

There are some good reviews. Here’s one:


Verified Purchase “Some ghost stories are terrifying. Some are ludicrous. This one convinces. It’s psychologically correct, as one might expect from a writer who made a career as a psychologist, and this reader at least feels that he understands the characters and their motivations because of the way they are presented. It’s also historically correct and, if there is a frightening aspect to the story, it comes from the historically accurate representation of human cruelty rather than from the supernatural. The genetic component is icing on the cake. A good read.”