Thursday 1 November 2012

Witch Crag Blog Tour & Guest Post: Gothic Ghosts & Leaving Poppy by Kate Cann

To celebrate the release of her latest novel Witch Crag I'm delighted to welcome Kate Cann to the blog today. With Halloween yesterday Kate is continuing the creepy theme with a fabulous guest post about gothic ghosts and her creepy horror story Leaving Poppy. Before I hand you over to Kate I want to tell you a bit more about her new dystopian novel Witch Crag, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and will be posting my review later today but in the meantime here is the cover and blurb:

Kita must make a choice: survive in a life she will hate forever, or run away and almost certainly die.

Death is a risk she's willing to take, but there's more to it than that . . .

Soon, Kita will find herself fighting for the very enemy she was trying to escape.

Visit Kate Cann's website for more information.

To go along with the publication of Witch Crag Scholastic are also republishing some of Kate's previous novels: Leaving Poppy, Possessed and Fire along with snazzy new covers. Since Kate's guest post mentions Leaving Poppy I thought I'd include the new cover and blurb here for you.

Poppy needs you.
She always needed you.
She'll never let you go.

Amber wants to leave home, escape her sister, get out of her clutches.

But her new life isn't a safe place. Someone is waiting for her there. And waiting for Poppy.

I haven't had a chance to read Leaving Poppy yet but it sounds like an incredibly creepy read. Since I'm a bit of a wimp I'll probably have to make sure I read it in daylight but I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

Now please give a warm welcome to Kate before you sit back and enjoy her fabulous guest post!


Gothic Ghosts & Leaving Poppy 
by Kate Cann

I’ve always loved ghost stories. I think they’re far more satisfying than tales of slasher horror. After all, if a mad axeman breaks in on you, you’re hideously terrified for a few seconds – then you’re dead. But a ghost can play with you, tease you … let you relax in the daytime (as you dismiss the dread and fear of last night as just your imagination), then disturb you again at twilight. It’s all about the breaking through of “the other” into our cosy normality. That corner-of-the-eye creepiness, that curtain rustling when there’s no wind, that strange scent on the landing, that scuffling noise above your head…

Some ghosts just hang around like cobwebby shreds – in a room that’s colder than the others, in a corridor that everyone hurries down for a reason they can’t quite explain. Just about everyone has had the experience of entering a room and feeling spooked, knowing they couldn’t relax there. I remember once in Spain going to look at a little cottage that was up for sale, out on its own on the edge of fields. It was pretty and alluring from a distance, with its palms and vines. Close up, we felt a vivid sense of menace. We peered through the windows at the empty rooms, and we all had a feeling that something terrible had happened within its walls. There was no way we would have bought it!

To me, the most interesting ghosts have a purpose, a reason why they can’t rest, a message they must deliver, a wrong they have to put right. There are lots of films and tales around where an initially frightening ghost turns out to be a wronged soul who depends on the living to right old wrongs. For Leaving Poppy, I was interested in something a lot nastier. I wanted a shred of malice, a thin, dark dust-shape on the attic stairs, who stirs and comes back to life when a kindred spirit enters the house. The truly terrifying Woman in Black influenced me hugely while I was writing my book. Her grief and envy – compounded by her isolation – created something rapaciously evil. I wanted an old, sleeping evil regenerated by a living girl.

I’m interested in the psychological, metaphorical side to gothic, ghostly writing, if that’s not too pretentious. I love the idea of bleak windy weather and creaking doors and dripping water mirroring what’s going on in a character’s soul. Ivy Skinner, the grisly ghost in Leaving Poppy, works as a metaphor of the twisted, narrow home life that Amber is fighting to get away from. In conquering her terror of Ivy, she conquers the destructive power of her past.


Thanks for a fab post Kate, it's funny because I used to love scary ghost stories when I was younger but the older I get the more they tend to scare me. I seem to be turning into a wimp!

So have any of you already read Witch Crag or Leaving Poppy? If you have please let me know what you thought of them! Also don't forget to check out the other stops on the Witch Crag Blog Tour - see the banner below for details:


  1. Leaving Poppy is a fantastic ghost story. I first read it aged 26, when I was a children's bookseller and it TERRIFIED me! The name Ivy Skinner sends shivers through me.

  2. Hi Michelle, I'm actually a bit scared to read Leaving Poppy - I'm such a wimp when it comes to horror stories LOL. I think I'll have to be brave and try it soon though because everyone I know who has read it says its fantastic.



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