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The Haunted Hills

The Haunted Hills will be published by UCLan on 6 October 2022. Preorder from Amazon.


To be published by UCLan, 6 October 2022, ISBN 978-1912979936.

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See here for details of The Haunted Hills launch events.

I’m really pleased to say that my new book, The Haunted Hills will be published by UCLan Publishing in October of this year. I don’t want to tell you very much about the book yet, but it’s set in the Derbyshire Peak District, where many of my books are set. The central character, Carl, is about thirteen, and he’s away with his parents recovering from a traumatic event, when he meets a strange boy …

Bound up with Carl’s story is the tale of The Lost Lad, a lonely figure who haunts the hills around the farm cottage where Carl is staying. And this, the Lost Lad story, is itself based on something that is said to have really happened in the Peak District many years ago.

If you’re wondering whether it’s like any of my other books, I think the nearest would be The Company of Ghosts, which is about a girl abandoned on a haunted island. Another would be The Snake-Stone, about a boy who searches a valley in Derbyshire in the hopes of meeting his birth mother. In both of these the wild landscape plays an important part in setting the atmosphere of the story.

The beautiful artwork is by Tamsin Rosewell, and the designer is Becky Chilcott at UCLan Publishing.

Copyright: Tamsin Rosewell illustrator and UCLan Publishing. If you’d like to use these images, please let us know by contacting me or UCLan Publishing.

Work in schools

The lovely illustrations above show the proof cover and the final cover of The Haunted Hills. The artist, Tamsin Roswell, has written these suggestions for classroom work:

Take a look at the artwork for The Haunted Hills. There is a lot of colour, texture, and plenty of hidden details to discover. Some questions to ask students:

1. What sort of book do you think this will be – think about the atmosphere and mood that the art creates, the colours the artist has chosen, and the way the landscape is depicted.

2. Look at the snowstorm image. What do you think is happening in the picture, and how might the situation end? Is this something that is happening in our time? Or is it in the past?

3. The art for this book doesn’t depict any close up drawings of lead characters (compare this to other books – have a look at covers of The Haunting of Aveline Jones and When The Sky Falls.) Why do you think the artist chose not to paint one of the characters? What are the pros and cons of having a cover design with a character shown on it?

3. Write your own opening paragraphs, or precis for this book, based on how the art makes you feel. Who would your protagonist/s be? Why are they in this landscape? What might happen to them here? Are the ghosts and shadows hinted at in the art friendly, or unfriendly?

4. Have a look around your school or public library and find books with different sorts of covers. Think about what attracts you to some books rather than others. Are there covers that immediately make you think “This book is for me!” or “I don’t want to read this!”? Look inside the books and see if you can find the names of the illustrator, find out a bit more about them and their work. 

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