The Boy in the Burgundy Hood by Steve Griffin
Updated: Jan 23
Today we’re talking ghost stories with Steve Griffin the author of The Boy in the Burgundy Hood!
I love a good ghost story but I am not into anything gory, gruesome or extremely scary. The Boy in the Burgundy Hood was absolutely perfect for me. An entertaining read full of mystery and suspense with a sprinkle of paranormal activity. If you are a fan of The Haunting of Hill House or The Haunting of Bly Manor, then this is the book for you. Highly recommended!
Before we begin, let’s read the synopsis for The Boy in the Burgundy Hood:
Will it be her dream job – or a waking nightmare?
Alice Deaton can’t believe her luck when she lands a new post at a medieval English manor house. Mired in debt, the elderly owners have transferred their beloved Bramley to a heritage trust. Alice must prepare it for opening to the public in the spring, with the former owners relegated to a private wing.
But when the ghosts start appearing - the woman with the wounded hand and the boy in the burgundy hood - Alice realises why her predecessor might have left the isolated house so soon.
As she peels back the layers of the mystery, the secrets Alice uncovers haunting Bramley’s heart will be dark - darker than she could ever have imagined...
J.C. - Before we start, Steve, can you take a moment and introduce yourself to our readers?
S.G. - I’m the author of The Ghosts of Alice series, an adventure series for young adults called The Secret of the Tirthas, and two books of poetry. I live with my wife and two sons in a lovely area of the English countryside called the Surrey Hills, twenty miles south of London. I enjoy walking in the hills, going to indie gigs and, ever since my life got busier and busier, doing… nothing.
J.C. - I love a good ghost story. What made you come up with the idea?
S.G. - Me too! The idea for The Boy in the Burgundy Hood was brewing for a long time. A few years ago my wife went for a job interview in a remote country manor that had been taken on by a heritage trust. The job seemed pretty perfect, looking after a beautiful building in a stunning setting. But there was a catch. The previous owners, who had been forced to make the deal with the trust when they ran out of cash, were still living in a private wing. And unsurprisingly, they had their own ideas about how things should run and made the lives of the previous post holders near impossible.
As a storyteller, I knew this set-up had great potential! But it took me a few years – and a visit to the fabulous Ightham Mote in Kent – for me to layer it over with the ghost story that became The Boy in the Burgundy Hood.
J.C. - Do you believe in ghosts?
S.G. - On balance, I have to say no. However, I believe life is and always will remain a mystery, so I keep an open mind. As a ghost story writer, you hear quite a few interesting and inexplicable tales, and the number of people who believe in ghosts in all countries is high (e.g. 45% of Americans believe ghosts either probably or definitely exist). I’ve had a couple of odd experiences myself, too. Once, when I was a student in Scotland, I was sharing an old Victorian house in Stirling with some friends. I woke up one night and started imagining that there was a woman sitting on the end of my bed looking at me. I knew it was my imagination and I couldn’t see her or anything – but still, I had a vivid picture in my head. I thought nothing more of it and went back to sleep. The next morning I mentioned it to my friend. He did believe in ghosts and went very quiet for a moment, then told me that the previous afternoon he’d been heading upstairs and seen a woman above him on the landing out of the corner of his eye. He shouted up, thinking it was one of our housemates – but there was no reply. When he got upstairs, he made a quick check of the rooms – and found he was entirely alone in the house.
J.C. - Alice Deaton is not scared of ghosts. Instead, she actually feels a connection to them and tries to help. If you were haunted, what would your reaction be?
S.G. - I think seeing a ghost would scare the heebie-jeebies out of me! I’ve seen so many horror films that I’d be thinking of all the bad things that could happen. Given that my whole world view would have also been turned on its head in one fell swoop, I think it would be ultra-stressful. In The Boy in the Burgundy Hood, Alice is prepared for her ghostly experiences at Bramley because she’s seen ghosts from a very young age, and found them to be either neutral or supportive. But without having grown up with ghosts, I wouldn’t cope so well! What would be their agenda!?
J.C. - Alice was really duped in this book and found herself in a pickle. It took her a while to figure it out. If that happened to you, do you think you would have been in the dark as long as Alice was?
S.G. - I’d love to say no, but I think I probably would. I’m fairly gullible, but even if I wasn’t, I think the deception was pretty well calculated…
J.C. - The scariest things in this book are the humans, if you ask me! What research did you do to create those characters with all of their psychological issues?
S.G. - I’ve watched horror films and read scary books since I was 9 years old. I think the dark side of humanity has just seeped into me. I find the subject of our inner lives fascinating. Apparently, 1% of people are psychopaths which in my humble opinion is a heck of a lot! Do you know more than a hundred people? You need to keep an eye out…
J.C. - Who has been your biggest support system while on this writing adventure?
S.G. - Definitely my wife. As well as inspiring the original idea through her job interview, she is also a writer by profession and provided huge support with her initial reading of the book. And my kids too – when the writing gets too intense, they’re a great distraction (well, all the time, really…)
J.C. - Finish the sentence. In ten years I’d like to…
S.G. - Be the UK’s #1 ghost story writer, with a big international readership. The Boy in the Burgundy Hood has already given me a taste of that possibility when it reached the top spot in ghost stories on Amazon after a promotion. If I can’t make that, I’d settle for a good life in the country, reading, writing, walking and visiting friends and foreign places.
J.C. - Alice’s adventure is not over. She will encounter more paranormal activity in The Girl in the Ivory Dress. What can you tell us about that and all of your other books?
S.G. - When I wrote The Boy in the Burgundy Hood, it was as a standalone novel. But the way it ended left a huge opening, and it didn’t take long before a few savvy readers were asking whether there might be room for a sequel. The girl in the ivory dress is a ghost who appears briefly at the end of the book, and she began to play with my mind. Soon I had a sequel – and then a whole series – starting to take shape.
Thus The Ghosts of Alice was born, a series of novels linked by Alice and her mysterious ability to connect with the dead. I’d written a whole fantasy series before for younger teens, but this time I wanted to make each book standalone. The Girl in the Ivory Dress is very different to The Boy in the Burgundy Hood. It takes place in the summer, at a secluded guest house on the Welsh coast. Alice heads there when the country house where she works gets shut down after a fire. She goes because she’s asked by an old school friend who’s at her wits’ end, as the guest house is being haunted by a horrific apparition. But when Alice arrives at Peacehaven, she finds there’s more going on than she expected. Who is the spectral man roaming the house? Why is he terrifying the guests? And why does she keep dreaming about the ghosts of her past, the burning man and girl in the ivory dress? As Alice digs deeper, she uncovers an insidious evil that might just overwhelm her…
J.C. - Lastly, where can readers find you and your work?
S.G. - All my books are available in ebook and paperback from Amazon. I’m a pretty regular user of Instagram (as you know, Jessica!), Facebook, and Goodreads, and appear a little on Twitter. You can check out more about me and my books on my website, where you can also sign up for my newsletter. Or email me at email@example.com for pretty much anything – I love to hear from my readers!
Now is the perfect time to read a ghost story! What are you waiting for? Grab a copy of The Boy in the Burgundy Hood just in time for Halloween.