Sue Owens Wright is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. She is an eleven-time finalist for the Maxwell, awarded annually by the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) to the best writer on the subject of dogs. She has twice won the Maxwell Award and earned special recognition from the Humane Society of the United States for her writing. She writes the acclaimed Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series, including Howling Bloody Murder, Sirius About Murder, Embarking On Murder and Braced For Murder, which is recommended on the American Kennel Club’s list of Best Dog Books.
Her nonfiction books include What’s Your Dog’s IQ?, 150 Activities for Bored Dogs, and People’s Guide to Pets. She has been published in numerous magazines, including Dog Fancy, Mystery Scene, AKC GAZETTE, Fido Friendly, The Bark, and Animal Fair. Her work also appears in several anthologies, including PEN Oakland’s Fightin’ Words, along with Norman Mailer and other literary notables. Her newest novel is The Secret of Bramble Hill.
I’ve always loved reading a thrilling ghost story like Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House or Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë. I’m also a diehard fan of Edgar Allen Poe’s eerie tales, and I made sure to visit the Poe Museum years ago when I was in Richmond, Virginia, for my book signing at Creatures ‘n Crooks Bookshoppe. Whenever a character encounters a brooding old manor house in such stories, the chances are good that it’s haunted. The authors no doubt found their inspiration at such places in real life, as I have.
Having visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum of Haworth on my travels in Yorkshire, England, I’m convinced that the Brontë sisters didn’t have to venture too far from home to find inspiration for their classic tales of romance and mystery. The bleak parsonage stands beside one of the spookiest graveyards I saw in England, and there are many. A walk on the windswept Yorkshire moors could stir any writer’s imagination, as it did for the Brontë sisters, who often wandered upon well-worn footpaths near the parsonage that meandered across the desolate moors. Popular Brontë walking tours offer tourists the chance to hike on the high moors and in beautiful Worth Valley, but I missed taking the tour on a gray day when it started to rain. I’m more accustomed to sunny California strolls, but I doubt that the inclement weather would have deterred the Brontës.
While touring in England, I stayed at a number of historic homes dating back centuries. When I returned from my trip abroad years ago, I began writing my first novel, a paranormal romance inspired by the beautiful English countryside and purportedly haunted locales across Britain. The Secret of Bramble Hill is set in Cornwall, where I walked along the same precarious shale cliffs of the scenic Cornish coast as the heroine in my novel. In my book, Tessa Field possesses psychic abilities that enable her to see and communicate with the dead. While I don’t claim to share Tessa’s “gift,” as her dear departed aunt Emily called it, I could easily have believed that a resident ghost inhabited some of those “wuthering” English manor houses where I lodged during my travels. This book is the result of those chilling “visitations” in England. I hope that people will enjoy some thrills and chills of their own while reading The Secret of Bramble Hill.