By Harmony Kent
Have you ever walked deep into the woods while the ground mist swirled around your ankles and hid your feet? Or had the snapping of a twig raise the hairs on the back of your neck, as you realise you’re not quite as alone as you thought? All of these evoke the nostalgia of childhood Halloweens, where a chill of fear would run up my spine on a cold winter eve until I reached the warmth and sanctuary of the next brightly lit house.
Trees have always held a special place for me. Mostly, they feel benign. Indeed, I remember with fondness one particular Willow that used to offer me shelter and a place to hide. I could spend hours beneath those floor-hanging bows.
Some trees, however, have an altogether ‘other’ feel about them. On many an occasion, while out walking alone, I’ve stumbled across a deep, dark part of the woods that feels nothing other than menacing. An old gnarled Oak, in the right conditions, can take on the appearance of some ancient predator.
One Halloween, as a young and impressionable child, I saw a horror movie—Watcher in the Woods, starring Bette Davis—that scared me silly and stayed with me for years. It fueled my already overactive imagination.
From this blend of good and evil, succor and menace, and my (at times) warped imaginings, came The Glade. My research into Ley lines led me by accident to the old Standing Stone of the Forest of Dean, and this fit into the ideas I had for the story perfectly, especially as I had already set the tale in that ancient forest. Of course, those of you who know this area of the UK, and who read The Glade, will know that I took some liberties with the location of the stone. In reality, it stands by the busy A-road that truncates through the forest, and not in some remote clearing.
As a writer, I love taking something real and putting a whole new spin on it. The Forest of Dean provided the ideal stomping ground in which to let my imagination roam wild.
If you like to curl up of a dark winter’s night and feel that delicious chill of fear running up and down your spine, you need only turn to The Glade, a mystery/thriller with a strong and pervasive malignancy oozing from its pages.
You’ll never look at trees in the same way again.
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