Thursday, March 19, 2015

Squee! It's the UKYA Easter Egg Hunt!!!

Welcome to the UKYA Easter Egg Hunt! I'm delighted to be taking part in this very exciting event! 

One very lucky winner indeed will win a huge grand prize of signed books by over thirty YA authors who write and live in the UK. 

I'm one of the authors taking part in hosting the hunt, which means I'm supplying one of the signed books - my very latest thriller, Urban Legends, officially out on 26th March! As Urban Legends is set in and around Brussels, how better to enjoy some scary serial-killer action than by curling up on the sofa with a mug of steaming hot chocolate, Belgian choc flavour? So I'm including a sachet of that too.

What do you have to do to enter? 

All you have to do is read this blog, count up how many UKYA branded Easter eggs you see in the blog (that means just the ones with READ UKYA written on them), and follow the link at the end to the next blog. Keep going until you get back to the blog where you started, and add up how many eggs you’ve seen along the way.

Then email your answer to: A winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries, and contacted by email.

The egg hunt closes at noon (UK time) on Sunday, 5th April, and is open internationally, which is great news for anyone who loves UKYA but doesn't actually live in the UK!

So get finding those eggs! And some awesome UKYA authors and books along the way.

Good luck! 

There's the link to follow: (it will lead you to the fabulous Keris Stainton, author of Starring Kitty and Spotlight on Sunny), so get cracking! 

Above: these chicks can't even contain their excitement!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

UPDATED! Forbidden Spaces - visit them all...

After three years of climbing bell-towers, grubbing about in sewers and catacombs, exploring abandoned buildings and then writing it all down, my Forbidden Spaces trilogy is nearly complete.

On 26th March the third and final book Urban Legends is being published. I'm celebrating at Blackwell's in Edinburgh that week if any of my blog readers are able to come to that (if hearing me talk about serial killers and urbex isn't a sufficient attraction, there is also going to be wine). For my readers in Belgium, where the book is set, I hope to have an event in Brussels and/or Tervuren later in the year. I'll post details here and on Twitter, FB, etc.

I've got a super blog tour lined up for publication week! I'm being interviewed by the Author Allsorts and telling all to the Scottish Book Trust as part of their Author Confessions series, as well as blogging for Hive.

On Monday 23rd I'll be on

On Tuesday 24th I'll be on

Wednesday 25th sees me over at

I'll be featured on the Bookwitch's blog on Thursday 26th with some exciting photos (Bookwitch will also be covering the launch event and reviewing the book, so look out for those posts too)! is the place to visit on Friday 27th!

I'll be interviewed by the fabulous Author Allsorts on on Saturday 28th.

And on Sunday 29th is hosting my answer to an unusual question!

During the week there will also be some fabulous giveaways! For daily updates on all these activities see my posts on Twitter at @helengrantsays

One thing I haven't covered in those blog posts is a question I get asked fairly frequently: do you have to read all the Forbidden Spaces books in chronological order? The answer is no. The books do follow on from one another, but I have aimed to put enough back story in that it is possible to read each of them without reading the others. I'd like to think though that anyone who reads Silent Saturday will be intrigued enough by the unanswered question at the end to go and read the other books!

Veerle De Keyser, the heroine of Forbidden Spaces, is my favourite heroine of all my books, so I also hope readers will be interested in what happens to her and how her story ends on the last page of Urban Legends. I've shared her adventures in a small way, because I researched nearly all the locations I used in the trilogy by actually visiting them myself (thankfully without being chased by any serial killers). I'm also thrilled to have written a trilogy set in Flanders, because I loved living there, and it makes me feel as though I have a kind of souvenir of those three years.
I've thanked all the friends in Flanders who helped with the books in the acknowledgements at the back of each of them, but I'd like to do it again here. They have at various times picked me up from the airport, let me stay in their spare rooms, driven me to different parts of Belgium, advised me on questions of Flemish language and culture, and brought me bottles of bessenjenever (Flemish berry gin). Thank you and dank u wel!

Urban Legends can be pre-ordered on Amazon and also on Hive, and you can find the book on Goodreads here if you'd like to read reviews in due course, or post one of your own. It goes without saying that reader reviews are always hugely appreciated by authors (especially if they are kind ones!).

I hope you'll enjoy the book.

M.R.James & the modern ghost story

1. Do you love the ghost stories of M.R.James?
2. Do you live within travelling distance of Leeds?
3. Are you free on March 28th 2015?

If the answer to all those questions is YES this may be an event for you! It's a one day conference on the theme of M.R.James and the modern ghost story, being organised by the University of Leeds and taking place in the Leeds Library.

I'm very excited about this because it's a unique opportunity to examine James's work, covering topics as diverse as Monsters, monuments & unhomely houses: architecture in the work of M.R.James (Ralph Harrington) and Adapting James’s work into graphic stories (John Reppion). I'll also be there as one of the three keynote speakers, talking about one of my very favourite MRJ tales, Canon Alberic's Scrap-book. I can promise pictures, too! - though hopefully no sepia drawings accompanied by demons.

You can get the full details of this very exciting spooky day here:

The programme for the day, which begins at 9am and finishes at 8.30pm after a showing of A Warning to the Curious and a panel discussion, can be found here:

You can register for the conference online here: but only up to 13th March (after which time, presumably, you have to apply in runes or some such thing).
If you're coming and want to see the film in the evening, take care to select that option when you register.

If you're on Twitter, you can also follow organisers @jmainpidd @jimmussell and @GothicTexts for updates and general ghostly and Gothic shenanigans!

Personally, I can't wait!

Above: St. Bertrand de Comminges, scene of
Canon Alberic's Scrap-book.

Photo by William Bond 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Urban Legends: thrills and wine at Blackwell's Edinburgh

26th March 2015 sees the publication of the third and final book in my Forbidden Spaces trilogy: Urban Legends.

A group of story-tellers are disappearing one by one. A young woman is haunted by her past. A serial killer has one target he is desperate to hunt down. 
Veerle is trying to lie low, to live as 'normal' a life as she possibly can. But when you've thwarted a serial killer, it's hard to do this. Especially when he wants revenge...

Urban Legends sees the return of the terrifying killer who calls himself De Jager - The Hunter. It also has some of the most atmospheric and thrilling locations of the trilogy. Forbidden Spaces has a theme of urban exploration running through it. In Silent Saturday Veerle and her friend Kris explored opulent villas whose expat owners were away. In Demons of Ghent the action moved up to the high points of an ancient city - the towers, battlements and rooftops. Urban Legends takes us to some of the murkiest, most dangerous urbex locations of all, as Veerle is forced to confront a brutal murderer with a personal vendetta against her, and try to uncover the real truth of what she saw on Silent Saturday ten years ago.

To celebrate the publication of Urban Legends, I'll be at Blackwell's Bookshop in Edinburgh on Tuesday 24th March, talking to fellow author Susy McPhee (Husbands and Lies, The Runaway Wife, Back to You) about the inspiration for the book, the challenges and thrills of researching the real-life locations, and why urban legends are so compelling. There will be wine too, to steady our nerves while contemplating some of my scariest settings and most brutal confrontations ever!

All welcome. This event is ticketed, but tickets are FREE.

Tickets are available from the front desk at Blackwell's Bookshop, by emailing or by phoning 0131 622 8218.

Tickets can also be booked on Eventbrite

For more information or if you would like a signed copy of the book, please contact Ann Landmann on 0131 622 8222 or

Urban Legends: going to all the scariest places...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What's the last thing you borrowed from the library?

As we're celebrating National Libraries Day this week, I thought it would be fun to ask my Facebook friends and fellow authors: What was the last thing you borrowed from the library? It could be a book (of course), or a DVD or CD. It could be "internet time".

I think there's sometimes a perception that people don't use libraries any more, because of internet access and other resources. I don't agree with that; I blogged earlier today about the way that local libraries have helped me to integrate into the community in every new place I have called home. So I was delighted to hear from so many friends and colleagues that they are actively using libraries, and fascinated to hear what their most recent loans had been.

Here's what they said!

 Emma Pass, author (pictured left): Pea's Book of Best Friends by Susie Day, and the DVD of Schindler's List.

K.A. Laity, academic and author: Double Indemnity DVD to show my students next week. From local library, The Black Count by Tom Reiss about Dumas' father and a 2-in-1 pair of Margaret Millar novels. I'd actually started reading The Black Count from Dundee Central Library, but had to leave before I could finish.

Splendibird, blogger and reviewer for Mountains of InsteadInto Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. Not usually a non fiction reader but was up until the wee small hours reading this. Brilliantly compelling.

Savita Kalhan, author: The Sterkarm Handshake by Susan Price because I wanted to reread it.

Mary Mayfield, blogger: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding - I read it a few months ago so for my Teen this time. The new system at our library allows the librarian to say "You know you've already read this?", as if no one would ever read the same book twice!

 Sally Nicholls, author (pictured left): Um ... the last book I borrowed from the library is a bit more revealing than I think I want to be (nothing rude before you all get excited!).
Last books before that were the Complete Works of Saki and The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker.

Kate Kelly, author: Not counting the books I borrow on behalf of my kids - the last thing I borrowed for me was a book all about the development of Radar during WW2, written by one of the Scientists. Echoes of War by Sir Bernard Lovell.  I had to get them to order it up from another library for me.

Dawn Kurtagich, author: My last one was Just Ask Alice I think!

Bryony Pearce, author: I'm always borrowing new YA from my library - they're really great at getting in anything I ask for, so my library has a well stocked YA section now!

 Roy Gill, author (pictured left): Four different books on the life and work of Alan Turing - research for something I was writing at the time.

Nikki Sheehan, author: Reality Boy. But I go in there to work as well, and Brighton Library does great coffee!

Alex Campbell, author: Just borrowed - Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill. And was also there researching yesterday for Bk3. Love my library.

Sarah Naughton, author: The Inbetweeners 2 and The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. Both excellent, but at somewhat differing ends of the intellectual spectrum.

Janet Edwards, author: My last thing at the library was the last readers' circle.

Helen Douglas, author: I've just taken out With Your Crooked Heart by Helen Dunmore and The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd.

 Luisa Plaja, author (pictured left): The last book I borrowed was the graphic memoir Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

Zoe Marriott, author: The last thing I borrowed was The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie. Little though most people realise it, I am a huge whodunnit fiend, and have read (and re-read) everything Christie ever wrote, including all the short stories. But if I actually attempted to *own* AG's vast backlist I'd probably need to move myself of my house to make room for them all. So when I feel the need for Poirot or Marple (or any of her other, lesser known sleuths) I head to the library, because there's not a library in Britain that doesn't have a full shelf of her books.

As for me, my last trip to the library was to consult the huge collection of old copies of the Strathearn Herald for Crieff Remembers, a commemoration of the effects of World War One on the town, scheduled to take place in 1917. Because libraries aren't just about books; it's where our history is.

What's the last thing you borrowed from your local library? I'd love to know!