We love promoting debut authors through the FCBG blog! Today we welcome Lisa Richardson, author of Channel Fear, a thrilling YA novel. She shares a bit about her inspiration with us!
With a long-held dream to see my book on a shelf in my local bookstore, Channel Fear is my chilling YA debut. I’ve been a fan of horror and the supernatural since childhood, with my first experiences of literary ghosts coming from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, as well as the ghost-like Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, and a children’s film called The Amazing Mr Blunden; all of which ignited in me a desire to watch horror movies and make up ghost stories with my friends on sleepovers. I grew up watching Tales of the Unexpected, reruns of old Hammer movies and the TV show Most Haunted, and reading Shirley Jackson. But while I love anything creepy and ghostly, I’d describe myself as an open-minded sceptic. My love of horror and the supernatural has grown with me, with films such as The Conjuring, and books by Cynthia Murphy, Kathryn Foxfield and Kat Ellis dominating my bookshelves. I knew I wanted to create my own ghost story, and with Channel Fear I set out to capture the classics I’d loved as a child but with a modern take of social media and found footage, and a splash of a love triangle.
The idea for Channel Fear I owe to my son Dexter, who introduced me to the world of YouTube ghost hunt videos: our favourite channels being Sam and Colby, Exploring with Josh and OVERNIGHT, where the channel hosts visit haunted locations and spend the night, recording their experiences. Not only do these videos provide some lovely mother/son bonding time, snuggling up on the sofa with snacks and my laptop, but it was while watching the OVERNIGHT channel a few years ago that I was struck with the idea for a story of YouTubers going missing while creating content for their ghost hunt channel. Also, around this time, I’d noticed an increasing number of stories in the press about people being hurt or losing their lives while trying to get the perfect ‘on the edge of a cliff’ selfie, filming a prank video or doing the latest TikTok ‘challenge’, while chasing likes and views on social media. So, I began to think about how far people would go for social media success, and it seemed a natural progression to put the two ideas together.
Thornhanger House and my characters Iris, Byron and Molly were born. Iris is so obsessed with YouTube ghost hunting superstars Zach and Lucas, who went missing months ago at an unknown location, that she is willing to put herself and her friends in danger to find out what happened to them, craving the social media fame she believes will come from solving the mystery. I had fun creating a dark history for Thornhanger House as a source of the hauntings, coming up with the tragic tale of Elizabeth and her family, among others. The supernatural elements of the book were inspired by The Haunting of Hill House, The Blair Witch Project and The Others. I’m particularly drawn to ghost stories that don’t overexplain, as there is so much creepiness in the unknown. While I remain a sceptic, I would love to know if ghosts exist, and if I ever get invited on an overnight ghost hunt, my answer would be a resounding YES!
Channel Fear by Lisa Richardson is published by Chicken House Books.
Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation.