Today, Barnabas makes room on his dance card (which is busy busy busy as he's just wrapping up his latest caper) to talk to Anne-Marie Ormsby, author of the just released (as in, TODAY!) Purgatory Hotel. Now, the book is just a little bit spooky, not really anything to be afraid of at all, so I'm sure Barnabas will set aside his nerves and...um, Barnabas? Where have you gone...oh, you crazy fellow, will you come out from behind the sofa and properly welcome our guest? (Barnabas peeks up over the back of the sofa, so that just his eyes and the top of his head are showing.)
Sigh. I suppose that will have to do. Anyway, a big welcome to Anne-Marie! Please, do sit down and we'll have a chat about your book. Maybe not on the sofa though. (Anne-Marie gives the peeping Barnabas a questioning glance, makes herself comfy on the armchair, and we proceed with the interview).
So, your book, Purgatory Hotel, is coming out today! Very exciting! In three sentences, can you give us an idea of what it’s about?
A girl wakes up in Purgatory which is an old hotel, but can’t remember who she is or how she died.
The girl must have done something bad to end up in Purgatory.
The girl has to remember everything before she can get to Heaven.
It’s clear that you are fascinated by the darker side of things. Where did your love of the macabre come from?
My mum and dad always loved reading crime books and watching murder mysteries on TV. They loved Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie so I ended up loving those too. I recall Saturday nights with the whole family in front of the TV watching Miss Marple and Poirot aswell as Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes stories. My dad was interested in true crime too so as I got older I ended up reading more and more books around the subject. I have 2 brothers and 4 sisters and between us all we all ended up with an interest in the darker side of things, all of us sharing horror movies and scary books. It definitely shaped my movie and book preferences!
Have you ever seen (or experienced in any other way) a ghost?
Yes I have. Several times. But that’s my next book….
On a scale of 1-10 (with 1 being a mild startle and 10 being “oh dear I can’t sleep because I’m sure there’s a murderous clown under my bed”) how scary is Purgatory Hotel?
Ah I don’t think it’s that scary at all, creepy maybe, no one likes the idea of being stuck in a dark and creepy old hotel! I haven’t written it to be a scary book but it features a lot of things that scare me – old hotels, long corridors, dark forests and ultimately dying in a very unpleasant way.
If none of those things bother you I’d say it’s a 2…..however if you aren’t a fan of the woods at night, probably an 8.
No clowns though. I’m too scared of them to write about them!
Did the idea for the hotel come from an actual hotel you’ve visited?
I didn’t think it did, it felt like an amalgam of a lot of different familiar images of old hotels. But my sister pointed out to me when she was reading descriptions of the hotel, that in places it was like a hotel that was around the corner from where I grew up called The Grand. I went there all the time in my teenage years as it was a great pub but the hotel part was damaged by fire and not used. I went up there once when a friend who worked there showed me around. It was really creepy. Perhaps that thought of all those empty rooms and lightless hallways stuck somewhere in my subconscious.
So that wraps up our conversation with Anne-Marie. Check out Purgatory Hotel on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Purgatory-Hotel-Anne-Marie-Ormsby/dp/1977649521
and visit Anne-Marie on her blog here: https://www.annemarieormsby.com/