Next up in our Bookends Halloween series, we ask Angela Clarke – author of the brilliantly gripping On My Life – about her go-to Halloween films, her favourite spooky reads and more!
What are your favourite spooky reads?
I’m quite a wuss – and if I read anything too scary (especially just before bed), I will wake up screaming. Which Mr Ange doesn’t really appreciate. So, my favourite spooky reads tend to be toward the tame side – the hint of the paranormal, a mystery at the heart, and a satisfying resolution (so I can go to the bathroom on my own once again). I love Footsteps in the Dark by Georgette Heyer, The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and, if I decide I didn’t need to sleep anyway, the genuinely terrifying The Lingering by SJI Holliday.
What book-to-film adaptations do you watch to get yourself in the Halloween mood?
I can deal with the psychological scares better than the paranormal ones (I am a crime writer after all), so I treat myself to a fortifying glass/bottle of wine, grip a cushion tight, and settle in for a serial killer session at Halloween. And the film adaptation of Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs goes particularly well with that Chianti…
Of the characters in your book, who would you choose to trick, and who deserves a treat?
I would hand out a trick to David, the arrogant, bullying soon to be father-in-law of the unfortunate heroine Jenna in On My Life. He’s one of those entitled wealthy men of a certain age, far too used to getting his own way, and deserves a nasty fright! And I would give a treat to Jenna’s troubled but kind-hearted and heavily pregnant young cellmate Kelly (yes, they are in prison!). She really does deserve a bit of TLC – and she’d be delighted with a comfy chair, a gossip magazine and a Mars bar.
What would the main character in your book dress up as for Halloween?
Jenna is a happily engaged recruitment consultant, whose perfect life is shattered when she finds herself framed for the murder of her step daughter, sent to prison, and discovers she’s alone inside… and pregnant. She has to work out who is the real killer, as well as protect herself and her unborn child from violent inmates, all the while fearing she will be made to give her new baby to the very person she thinks framed her. Her green prison regulation tracksuit is probably the most horror-full costume she could wear. It’s the embodiment of her living nightmare.
What will you be reading on 31st October?
As I will be boarding the Orient Express to Venice on 31st October, I fear I’ve got to break with tradition and read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. But I will do it wearing a mask – ha!