In Desolate Corners, Shadows Crouch

Grace has always been strange. But it is whilst looking after her grandchildren that things come to a head and lead to the death of 3 year-old grand-daughter, Claire. Claire’s death is witnessed by her 8 year-old brother, Adam, who later runs away and disappears. What does his mother’s boyfriend know? Who is the vagrant hiding out on the moors and what has he to do with Adam’s disappearance? In the hunt to find Adam, what do Grace’s visions in hospital reveal and can she be trusted? Set in the wild places of Northumberland and Cumbria, this is the story of a family torn apart by circumstance ansd grief, reunited by the desire to save a child.

The novel deals with a tragedy that tears a family apart, who later reunite to save the life of a child. Grace, the grandmother, has mental health problems and after the tragedy she is sectioned. Memory and the part the past plays is an important theme in the book and the following extracts are from two characters central to the plot. The first is from Grace, when she is sedated in hospital:

Her voice recedes and you slip a little. You smell yourself, naked in Brendan’s arms, your skin the slightly-smoked smell of hot summer days. There’s incense in the air, the vapours curling around the slap of wet bodies, filling your mouth. His hands burn your skin, leaving his brand, which you feel long after he dresses and buttons himself up. Silence clots around you as he leaves.

Kriss Nichol

My writing journey has been extremely chequered and even after 50 years or so, I'm still finding my 'voice'. However, I love writing and the process of writing, I love creating the spaces between the words that allow the creativity to take form and I love the intensity when everything in the cauldron comes together and sparks a chain reaction. I write because I have to. As a writer I am particularly interested in the darker side of human nature and human existence and the strength human beings have to overcome adversity. I have personal experience of darkness and light and use these experiences to inform the emotional content of my work. The bulk of the early work I had published was academic educational stuff, but in 2000 I embarked on an MA in Creative Writing at Northumbria University. Since then my poems have been published in anthologies and small press magazines like Lookout, First Time, Southlight, Fankle and Poetry Scotland, to name a few, and short stories have been short listed by BBC Radio 4, highly commended in competitions, one won an award from the Scottish Centre for Writing and another won first prize in Wild Words Short Story Competition. My first novel In Desolate Corners, Shadows Crouch is currently available from Amazon and a second is nearing completion. A new departure for me was to write poems to accompany black and white fine art images created by photographer Elliot Nichol, my son. Three such collaborations have been published in Southlight Magazine and we also completed a book to accompany Elliot's fine art exhibition, Between Lands, which was held in Malta, April 2013.