BOOKENDS HALLOWEEN – Alison Littlewood

BOOKENDS HALLOWEEN – Alison Littlewood

Happy Halloween everyone! To celebrate Halloween, we’ve been asking some of our authors some ghoulish questions! This week, we’re talking to Alison Littlewood, author of the atmospheric ghost story, Mistletoe.

What are your favourite spooky reads?

So many books! It’s hard to name just a few, but some recent favourites include The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley, Little Eve by Catriona Ward and historical gothic The Corset by Laura Purcell. I just rattled through The Fisherman by John Langan and that became an instant favourite. I love a good ghost story and Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box certainly fits that bill. Sarah Lotz’s novella Body in the Woods is brilliant. I also enjoy short stories: Nathan Ballingrud’s North American Lake Monsters is an amazing collection, as is Priya Sharma’s All the Fabulous Beasts.

What book-to-film adaptations do you watch to get yourself in the Halloween mood?

I’m hoping that La Influencia, the Netflix movie based on a Ramsey Campbell novel, will be out in time for this Halloween. It certainly looks appropriate! And it’s been far too long since I watched Misery, based on the Stephen King novel, though I might just reprise The Shining too. Just don’t make me go in that room (shudders). Some newer movies I might revisit this year include The Silence, based on Tim Lebbon’s book – I couldn’t put it down – and The Ritual, developed from Adam Nevill’s incredibly haunting novel.

Of the characters in your book, who would you choose to trick, and who deserves a treat?

My poor main character in Mistletoe, Leah, has probably been through enough, so she would get the treat. At the outset she’s lost her husband and son and is trying to start anew by renovating a farmhouse in one of the more dismal corners of Yorkshire. She deserves to be jetted off somewhere fancy, though she’d probably settle for a good hot bath. As for the trick . . . ah, there is certainly a character who deserves it, though that might be telling! They’re pretty wily, though. When I was writing the ending they seemed to take over somewhat, upping the stakes from my original plan, so I’d be worried they might turn the tables on me!

What would the main character in your book dress up as for Halloween?

Well, Leah has run off to her farmhouse to make a new life for herself, but she’s also running away from all the festivities of Christmas, so she might well do the same for Halloween. I’m afraid she’d probably be unprepared. A dustsheet over the head might be the best she could manage, though when she begins to uncover her family’s history she is drawn into past events, so who knows, she might find a beautiful Victorian mourning gown all ready for her. 

What will you be reading on 31st October?

I rather enjoy books that remind me of childhood around Halloween. It’s such an evocative time of year. So I might re-read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, about a young boy, Nobody Owens, who is raised by the ghosts in a graveyard after his family is murdered. I’ve always loved fairy tales too, so for a short fiction fix I’ll read the Fearie Tales anthology, edited by Stephen Jones. It has retellings of some childhood favourites, though it’s aimed at an adult readership and has a scary twist. There are some fabulous writers in there, including Neil Gaiman (again), John Ajvide Lindqvist, Angela Slatter, Robert Shearman and Tanith Lee, and there’s a delightfully impactful tale by Joanne Harris.

Mistletoe by Alison Littlewood

Mistletoe by Alison Littlewood is out now.