Title: In Shadows Waiting
Author: Stewart Bint
Genre: Paranormal, Horror
Young Simon Reynolds lives a bucolic life at his family home, White Pastures, surrounded by a loving family and a charming community. Simon finishes his A levels and looks forward to unwinding while his sisters work on their tans.
Meanwhile the tiny community of Meriton has been plagued by a spate of burglaries, and White Pastures seems to be next. A shadowy figure stalks the house, but the police can find no signs of an intruder.
Inspired by the author’s real-life experience with the supernatural, In Shadows Waiting recounts a summer that changes the Reynolds’ lives forever. As the summer progresses, the shadows take on an altogether more sinister implication, and White Pastures begins to reveal a terrifying secret.
The epicenter of an event that has scarred an entire community, White Pastures grows more and more dark, possessed by a shadow that yearns, a shadow that will not be denied. At White Pastures, someone will die — but love never will.
Interview with the Author
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’ve been a writer in some capacity all my life, training as a journalist and broadcaster, and then moving into Public Relations.
My first two pieces of published fiction were vignettes in a magazine in the 1980s, but then there was a break until 2012 when the first of seven e-books was published.
But a new phase of my literary life began in February this year when I was given a five-year contract by Booktrope, and my first paperback, In Shadows Waiting, was launched in September.
I live in Leicestershire, in the UK, and am married with two grown-up children.
My rise up the corporate Public Relations ladder came to an abrupt halt in 1997 when I suffered a severe mental illness and was sectioned for 28 days under the UK’s mental health act. Recovery was long and painful, but gave me time to take stock of my life and cast off the things I no longer needed, including corporate success and the stress that comes with it, preferring to work as a PR writer instead of PR/Corporate Communications Director.
Where and when did your writing journey begin?
The writing bug infected me when I was just seven years old, thanks to my favourite television show, Doctor Who. The original series, way back in 1963, inspired me when I became enraptured by the storylines which could take place at any time in Earth’s history and future, and absolutely anywhere in the universe and beyond.
I started creating my own worlds and my own characters, writing my stories in little blue notebooks until my parents bought me a portable typewriter for my ninth birthday. And those make-believe worlds became invaluable after my Dad died when I was 11. I retreated more and more into those places where I was in control of my character’s fate – knowing that whatever happened to them during the story I would make sure they were okay in the end. My worlds were certainly better than the real ones at that time.
I discovered at a very early age that I was hopeless at maths and figures, and quickly realised that unless I could make my living with words I was going to starve.
Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
During my childhood in the 1960s I enjoyed the stories of the ubiquitous Enid Blyton. Then came thriller writer Alistair MacLean and Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. But three writers whose work I will never stop reading, and can read their stories time and again, are Stephen King, James Herbert and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Probably the most influence came from Conan Doyle, through his Sherlock Holmes stories, which taught me to either visualise the ending, or indeed, write it first (my normal method now is to outline the story and actually write the final chapter before anything else, to ensure that relevant clues are scattered along the way, and that everything fits together).
King’s later novels also influenced my overall approach to In Shadows Waiting, with creating horror by building unease and tension, rather than slasher style.
What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
Writing takes up pretty much all my time in three different guises. As well as my novels, I write a column for a fortnightly local magazine, and I’m a Public Relations writer for the world’s leading industrial CAD/CAM software developer.
On weekdays I can be anywhere in the UK interviewing companies for print or video case studies, about how they use the software…or at home writing articles based on those interviews, for trade publications. In the evenings and weekends I’ll be working on my novels, either writing or editing, and alternate Saturday mornings see me writing my magazine column.
How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
From three separate aspects. Firstly, my own personal experience of seeing the ghost that I describe in the confrontation scene. It stood at the top of the stairs at around 4.30 a.m. one cold November morning when I was leaving my lodgings to go to the BBC for my job at the time of reading the news into a radio breakfast show.
Secondly, although my book is not a vampire story, I have always been fascinated by the concept that vampires can only enter a house by invitation. In Shadows Waiting has the apparition outside first of all, and then makes its way into the house.
Thirdly, my previous home bordered a large farmer’s field which had a bomb crater in it from the Second World War. I wove those three aspects together, and In Shadows Waiting was born.
What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
It’s not what I would class as a typical ghost/paranormal/horror story, because it focuses on unease and the unknown, rather than blood and gore. I wanted to create a story involving ordinary people in an ordinary setting, so readers could personally identify with the characters.
What could be more idyllic than the summer facing my young character Simon Reynolds? So imagine my impish glee when I set the chain of events in motion that tapped into his family’s basic fear. First, the unease of thinking they may be targeted by burglars. How basic is that fear…the fear of your home being breached? Then their fear is replaced with horror. Maybe writing unease and horror is my way of compensating for not being able to pursue my first career choice. My careers teacher at school was having none of it when I said I wanted to be an assassin.
I also think the ending is totally unexpected. I was quite worried about how it would be received. While there are no loose ends, readers have to make up their own minds as to whether it is extremely sad or wondrously happy, depending on their perception and point of view.
Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
It has to be 18-year-old Simon Reynolds, as the book is written in the first person from his point of view throughout. A reader who knows me well, said he could see a lot of me in Simon. But that was definitely not deliberate.
Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
Two scenes were particularly fun to write, and as my fingers were flying over the keyboard bringing them to life, it was as if they were being played out before my eyes like a film.
One was Chapter 13, The Party, which has three distinct characteristics – descriptive, in physically setting up the party; fun, in the very light sex scene; which is rudely interrupted by another wave of horror.
The other was Chapter 15, Confrontation, where the battle rages and we finally get to fully see the apparition, standing at the top of the stairs, just as it appeared to me on that November morn back in 1980.
But the scene which has the most impact on me is the final chapter, all 117 words of it. I still can’t read it without a shiver scurrying down my spine, and shedding a tear – sometimes a tear of joy and sometimes a tear of sadness as my personal perception of the entire story changes each time I read the ending.
What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
A feeling of both joy and sadness.
What are your hopes for this novel?
That it can be read and enjoyed by as many people as possible.
What do you have in store next for your readers?
I am currently working with my publisher’s editor on Timeshaft – a novel about time travel that is full of paradoxes. The book was inspired by a walk in a park on the outskirts of London, which actually forms a scene in it. I have a little cameo role, along with my wife, my son in his pram, and my Father-in-Law.
Following the fortunes of two sets of time travellers, Timeshaft extends my earlier novellas, Malfunction and Ashday’s Child, linking the two completely separate storylines and extending them into a full-length novel. The Timeshaft is a path through time from pre-history to the end of the world, under the control of environmental protection group WorldSave, whose operatives travel through it preventing ecological disasters.
The plot focuses on the group’s leading agent, the enigmatic Ashday’s Child, an elderly tramp born in another era. But why has he really spent his life flitting through the ages? What is it he truly seeks? Timeshaft rocks along to the past and future with paradoxes and twists galore.
About The Author
Stewart Bint is a novelist, magazine columnist and PR writer. He lives with his wife Sue in Leicestershire in the UK, and has two children, Christopher and Charlotte. As a member of a local barefoot hiking group, when not writing he can often be found hiking barefoot on woodland trails.