By Lee Williams
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mystery
Teenage twins Rose and Daniel aren’t allowed phones, computers, even a TV, thanks to their conspiracy-obsessed father. But when the people he always thought were after him actually turn up, the twins realise he wasn’t as paranoid as they’d always thought.
With their dad missing and their house burned to the ground, Rose and Daniel find themselves at the centre of a worldwide conspiracy that stretches back through the ages, involving some of the most powerful and mysterious organisations on the planet.
Why them? Why their dad? The answers to these questions and other, darker mysteries lie beyond the doors of an ancient house called Skerryvore.
These mysteries link the twins to a Dark Age king and queen, to a secret society that stands behind the City of London, and an energy source that links some of the world’s most ancient sites into a network that has the power – literally – to change the world.
Skerryvore is the first book in the Dark Net series.
- What is your writing process? Do you aim for a word count daily or maybe just a scene?
No I don’t do either of these. I just do as much work as I can in the time that I’ve got. This could be a whole day (when I’m lucky – rarely!) or a couple of hours in the evening. Balancing creative writing with a job – or two! – and a family often means that the writing has to take a back seat, as I’m sure many other writers will have experienced.
- What sort of research did you do for this book?
Being a YA fantasy it didn’t require much research at all. Just lots of imagination!
- What are you working on now? Any chance of a sequel?
I’m currently working on my journalism and marketing Skerryvore. I literally don’t have time to write anything else. Skerryvore is the first book in the Dark Net series so yes there is a sequel that I’m dying to write. Unfortunately being able to write it depends largely on the success of Skerryvore to provide me with some extra income to free up some time.
- How did you come up for the idea of your book?
I did something which I would recommend to anyone that is looking for creative inspiration, especially for a children’s book – I sat down on my own in a room and played!
I drew a map of a house, a house that I would love to visit. Quickly the house turned into something which closely resembled Skerryvore in the final manuscript. It had a library that was also a labyrinth, a great hall, a mediaeval tower with a seeing stone at the top, and an observatory atop an old lighthouse on a tiny island attached to the house by a swinging bridge.
The house fascinated me so much that stories just started to evolve around it naturally and soon I had the basic plot for Skerryvore. After that I was hooked!
- Just for fun — what TV shows or movies have you really enjoyed (or disliked?) recently?
I don’t get much time to watch TV or movies but I really liked McMafia – a BBC serial about a man who gets caught up in the Russian mafia. A film I loved recently, although it was difficult watching, was Manchester by the Sea. Very powerful and hard hitting – especially for someone who has just become a father.
About the author
I am a journalist and writer living in Dorset, England with my wife and rampaging toddler. I write about technology, innovation, green issues and political commentary for various publications including The Independent, The Guardian, Wired, Private Eye and International Business Times. Skerryvore is my first, and hopefully not last, novel!
On Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DHZ2YLB
On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40387630-skerryvore
Daniel took a deep breath. It must be right. This must be the last piece in Mr Picketty’s jigsaw that led to the secret of Skerryvore – a sword in a stone. He couldn’t just be imagining this.
He had to have faith.
Daniel closed his eyes and went through the technique Mr Humblestone had taught them for being in the present. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Empty your mind of thoughts. Listen to the sounds around you. What can you hear? He could hear the sound of waves and gunfire echoing around the metallic roof of the chamber. What can you feel? The cold sea air against his face, the hard ground against the soles of his feet, the movement of his ribcage up and down and the beating of his heart inside it. What can you smell? The smell of the sea, the metal and oil of machinery. Now open your eyes. What can you see? He opened his eyes. He could see a sword standing in a stone with no thoughts attached to it, no hopes or fears.
Just a sword in a stone.
He reached out and wrapped his fingers around the cool leather of the hilt. He closed his eyes and pulled.
With a scraping of metal on stone the sword came free in his hand, so easily in fact that he stumbled backwards and fell to the floor dropping it with a harsh clattering noise that echoed around the chamber.
Then, slowly, another sound began to rise and overtake the first. It was a sound that came from all around, like some huge and rusty gate that hadn’t been oiled in centuries. Looking up, Daniel saw that the roof of the observatory was moving, but not in the usual way. This time it was moving outwards and away from the building, like giant hands were peeling it back. The noise roared to a deafening crescendo and Daniel watched in horror as the two sides of the roof leant outwards, balanced precariously for what felt like an eternity, then toppled and fell to the rocks below like two giant petals dropping from a flower.
He was suddenly alone on a windy platform, above the sea, under the night sky.
And behind him something else was moving.