A Ghost Story set in the 1950s.






Background to THE BOY ON THE BENCH



On a very hot summer’s day in 2006, I found myself strolling down a long, semi-rural lane on the outskirts of a provincial town in the south of England. My purpose for the fifteen to twenty minute walk that beautiful morning was an innocent trip to a small, local library. The route there would take me to the bottom of that semi-rural road where a more built up area started. But well before I reached the end of the lane, I had to pass a right-hand turning onto another semi-rural lane. This turn-off was, to my memory, the only turning along that road. On previous occasions, I had noticed that a wooden bench had been placed on the left-hand side of the turning’s wide mouth. Up to that time, the bench had been as deserted as the lane usually was. But as I approached the bench that morning I saw a person sitting there.

I won’t go into any more detail here about the sighting, as I don’t want to let out any spoilers. But you may find it interesting to know the following:

The bench does exist.

I passed it that day exactly as my character does in the opening of the ghost story.

And there was someone sitting there.

Furthermore, as the bench went out of sight, I truly thought these words – ‘I’ve just seen a ghost.

This actual sighting gave me the inspiration to write The Boy On The Bench.

It took over two years for me to think up a fictional plot for a ghost story based on that thirty second visual encounter. Possibly it took so long because I usually write purely from my imagination and not from real life events.  Even then I had to change the person’s sex and age to suit the story plot. The location and the time of year were also changed. But otherwise, the opening of my ghost story remains faithful to what I felt and saw on that lovely summer’s morning.

I had always wanted to write a ghost story having enjoyed reading so many of the classic ones as a youngster. Those by Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan-Doyle, Daphne Du Maurier, Oscar Wilde, Wilkie Collins and Henry James spring to mind. Plus, I still enjoy reading or watching one on the TV today. And, although I am a crime mystery author, this type of story plot suits my style of writing. Maybe that is because a ghost story is really just an extension of the mystery genre.

It has taken many years since that summer’s day in 2006 to be able to say – my project to write a ghost story is now at an end. Partly the delay has been due to having shelved my first draft in 2009 when I had to commit to other activities and could not write much anymore. Once I did start writing seriously again it was crime mysteries that continued to capture my enthusiasm and imagination.

Anyway, it has been great fun for me to complete what is likely to be the only ghost fiction I shall ever write. I hope you get as much pleasure in reading my story as I had in bringing my visions of THE BOY ON THE BENCH to life.

And my final words on the encounter that I had all those years ago. Do I believe ghosts exist? 

Well, I say this with a smile – ‘of course not. They don’t exist. But then again… I’ve seen one.’

The Boy On The Bench Lane