The Spook series of books written by Joseph Delaney provide the original inspiration for Spook Teaching's Spook and Witch workshops. Here we explore his creative talents, prodigious work and influence from Lancashire to Hollywood. At our Ask Joseph page, we let you interact with this special author, as he responds to your most interesting questions.
Joseph, a retired English teacher, is acclaimed author of the Wardstone Chronicles, a series of books which follow the terrifying adventures of young Thomas Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, who battles against witches, boggarts, and other creatures of the dark in his training to be The Spook of his county. Most of the places in The Spook Series are based on real places in Lancashire, and the inspiration behind his stories often comes from local ghost stories and legends.
The Wardstone Chronicles, which includes 13 different Spook titles, starts with landmark novel The Spook's Apprentice, which first introduces readers to the dangerous life of a Spook, and the fearsome witch families which cast a dark shadow in the county. Storylines from The Spook's Apprentice are sourced by Spook Teaching's 'Spook' and 'Witch' workshops, as our 'Spook' and 'Witch' educators look to bring these dramatic stories to life in the classroom.
Please visit www.spooksbooks.com for a full list of Joseph's novels, and Joseph's regular blog.
Joseph is an entertaining and engaging public speaker and carries out school visits and book signings when time allows. For information about these events and more please visit www.spooksworld.co.uk.
As an author of children's horror fiction, Joseph is often asked for his insight and experience on writing from budding young authors. His top 10 tips are:-
(1) A writer is nothing without ideas. Keep a notebook and write into it every story idea that comes into your head.
(2) Read widely. You learn to write by reading!
(3) Practise writing! Get into the writing habit. You need to make time to write on a regular basis.
(4) You don't need to finish each story. A fragment created now could be extended and finished later.
(5) Try starting a story by writing the ending first!
(6) Draw upon your imagination and think up the names of strange creatures. Then try to describe them. Keep working and improving each idea. Writing is hard work and you rarely achieve anything worthwhile at the first attempt.
(7) Visit castles, museums and inspiring landscapes. Write down what you see, hear and feel. What it is like to touch a damp slimy wall? What could have made that strange cry in the distance?
(8) Read the Spook's Books after dark! Read the genre extensively. Learn from other writers. How do they build atmosphere, create tension and scare you?
(9) As soon as you wake up after a nightmare write it down. Dreams are soon forgotten and, once they are recorded, may provide an idea for a story.
(10) Finally, make friends with a boggart or a witch! They have all sorts of interesting things to communicate. But try not to get dragged off to the dark!