One of the bonuses of being part of an international publishing house is making friends with authors across the pond, as they say. Penny Hampson is a fellow author with Darkstroke Books. Here she writes about the character Dr Kate Wilson from her book, The Unquiet Spirit, which she describes as a spooky mystery/romance. I like books with strong and complex female characters, which fits the bill for Penny’s protagonist. Here I will let Penny tell you all about her.
Dr Kate Wilson is an independent woman in her early thirties, and she is the main character in my spooky mystery/romance, The Unquiet Spirit. She’s intelligent — she’s got a PhD — and is passionate about history and books. When I came up with the idea for Kate I needed someone who wouldn’t be restricted by a nine-to-five job, hence her career researching the family trees of wealthy patrons.
Kate is down to earth and doesn’t believe in ghosts — well, not at first, though she does have a few hang-ups. She doesn’t like enclosed spaces, won’t go in lifts (elevators), and a traumatic experience with a neighbour’s pet has made her fearful of dogs. I confess, I share some of these feelings.
Kate has recently been badly let down by a boyfriend; he’d told her that he was single when he was very much married. So suspicious of men, and wanting a fresh start, she is ready to give up her academic life in Oxford and move to the house she’s unexpectedly inherited in Cornwall. Wouldn’t we all like to wake up one morning and discover we own a beautiful seventeenth century house near the coast?
An only child, Kate gets on well with her parents even though they don’t always see eye-to-eye. Kate’s mum wanted her to study science, but encouraged by Win, her godmother, Kate chose to study history instead. Kate’s relationship with Win is very close, built up over the years when Kate used to stay with her in Cornwall as a child. With no children of their own, Win and her late husband treated Kate as a daughter, so Kate is devastated when Win dies in mysterious circumstances. Despite their closeness, Kate is still taken by surprise when she finds out that Win has left her The Beeches in her will. She makes up her mind to look after the house that she has grown to love, and to discover the real reason for her godmother’s sudden death.
When the librarian, Ruth Morris, asks Kate if she can help Sue Pellow to sort out her family papers, Kate readily agrees, showing what a kind-hearted person she is. She is a little more reserved with Tom Carbis, a surly chap she bumps into several times before learning that he is her next door neighbour. Let’s just say that Kate’s first impressions of him aren’t good ones! But who can blame her when she is still bruised from her toxic relationship with her last boyfriend?
I like to think that when readers first meet Kate, on the run from a stalker in Oxford, they see Kate at her best — determined, resourceful, and unwilling to give in to adversity. She might be frightened, but she keeps calm and holds her nerve, she even manages to keep her sense of humour. Will she be able to deal equally as well with the new challenges that face her when she moves to Cornwall? You’ll have to read The Unquiet Spirit to find out!
An excerpt from The Unquiet Spirit
“No young man to celebrate Christmas with, then?” asked Win, a wicked gleam in her eye.
Kate chuckled. “’Fraid not… Not that I’d neglect family at Christmas. Men are too much trouble anyway.” She sipped her gin and tonic, enjoying the tang and feeling of warmth as it went down her throat. It soothed the lingering bitterness of her last break-up. Robin had certainly been too much trouble. She silently wished him a miserable Christmas, hoping his wife was giving him a hell of a time. He deserved it. She would never have got involved if she’d known he was married – his divorce just another of his fabrications. She wondered how long it would be before she could trust someone again.
Win sipped her whisky and gave Kate a speculative look.
“You should come down to Falmouth. Help me with a bit of research if you’re at a loose end. I think it would be just up your street.”
“Oh? What’s that then?” Kate’s interest was piqued, despite her inner gloom.
Win’s mouth pursed. “I’m not going gaga, but I’m sure…well, I’m almost sure that The Beeches is haunted.”
“You’re having me on?” Kate got the impression that Win wasn’t joking.
“No, I’m not. But…perhaps I am imagining some things.” A thoughtful expression crossed Win’s face. “No, I didn’t.” She shook her head. “I definitely heard noises last week and…I’ve seen things, Kate.”
So who is Penny Hampson?
Penny Hampson writes mysteries, and because she has a passion for history, you’ll find her stories also reflect that. A Gentleman’s Promise, a traditional Regency romance, was Penny’s debut novel, which was shortly followed by more in the same genre. Penny also enjoys writing contemporary mysteries with a hint of the paranormal, because where do ghosts come from but the past? The Unquiet Spirit, a spooky mystery/romance set in Cornwall, was published by Darkstroke in 2020.
Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).
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For more on Penny’s writing, visit her blog:
Penny Hampson’s Books
THE GENTLEMEN SERIES (Regency Historical Mystery/Romances)
A Gentleman’s Promise (revised 2nd edition coming soon)
An Officer’s Vow: purchase link ~
A Bachelor’s Pledge: purchase link ~
The Unquiet Spirit (A spooky contemporary mystery/romance) purchase link ~