Oct 1, 2018

Graveyards and Ghouls

- Shannon Curtis

 Buy Witch Hunter
This month I'm celebrating the release of Witch Hunter, the last of the Shadow Breeds series, and it's made me just a little nostalgic.

We're coming up to that time of year again where our North American friends are breaking out the candy and carved pumpkins, and our Aussie friends are trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.
In the last few years, I've noticed Halloween is growing as a festival in Australia, but alas, we don't have the canon that goes with it, the spooky legends about the house down the street or the headless horseman riding through the town...

I will confess, though, that I'm quite partial to a graveyard. When I was very young, my father took a second job as a handyman at a retirement village. The weekends of my tender years were spent strolling through the village, and visiting the lovely elders there (and being fed biscuits, cakes, slices, jams, etc. that made my belly full so that it became a waddle more than a stroll). We got to know the residents quite well, and it wasn't unusual for us to call them Uncle or Auntie.

As is the cycle of life, though, there comes a time when those uncles and aunties must take the next journey on their own, and we went to quite a lot of funerals. Like, sooooo many funerals, and graveside services as we waved goodbye to our dear adopted uncles and aunts.

Then my mother started to investigate our family history, and we learned one of the best sources of information was ... the cemetery. On those gravestones you'll find the correctly spelled surnames, the names of parents,grandparents and children and beloved siblings, and DATES. Suffice it to say, we had a fairly large family and my mother was determined to track down every last branch, which meant LOTS of weekends tramping through graveyards.

As kids, you make the best of what you have, so graveyards became the playground of my childhood. I would play tag with my brother and sisters, hide-and-seek, cops and robbers, and then we'd start the more ghoulish games - but that's a whole other blog post. So I became very comfortable around cemeteries and graveyards, and every time I go overseas, I visit ... a graveyard. It never fails to fascinate me how different cultures honor their dead, and how atmospheric a graveyard can be. It's been my inspiration for many a story.

I get inspiration from a lot of different places, though. For example, the photo above is from one of the plantation homes in Louisiana, and it's also inspired daydreams and plot bunnies. I'm wondering, though, what these images make you think of? What spooky stuff comes to mind? Who knows, your comment might spark a plot bunny of its own, and you could see it in an upcoming story!


  1. Shannon, you'll have to come to my next of the woods. Some of the little old settlements in the Hunter Valley have lovely old cemeteries, often in very scenic spots and always with stories to tell.

  2. Congrats on your new release, Shannon! Sounds fab. :-)

    And I'm with Annie -- we have some fabulously atmospheric cemeteries in the Hunter Valley. Come and visit!

  3. Woohoo congrats on the release Shannon

    I too love graveyards and wandering around them I remember years ago our car broke down on the road next to Wyong Cemetery and we had the best time looking at graves while waiting for the NRMA :)

    Have Fun